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How to Prevent Heat-Related Illnesses & Death with WBGT Heat Stress Monitoring

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May 28, 2023 | Posted by MICRO

Heat stress monitoring is an invaluable tool for saving lives. While at-risk demographics include young children or adults 65 or older, or anyone working or performing in hot conditions heat-related illness can happen to anyone – even athletes who in prime physical condition.

“Exertional Heat Stroke can happen at any time and in the absence of high environmental temperatures. “
-Korey Stringer Institute

Heat stroke is one of the 3 leading causes of sudden death during exercise. Survival rate for heat stroke is very high if immediate treatment is received, but preventing heat-related illnesses is the best approach to saving lives.

Understanding Wet Bulb Globe Temperature Monitoring

The recommended measurement to properly assess the risk of heat injury and illness is WBGT. Wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) is a measurement that accounts for:

  • Ambient temperature
  • Wind
  • Relative humidity
  • Solar radiation

These measurements are used to dictate modifications in physical activity, including work, rest, hydration breaks, length of physical activity, etc.

These guidelines are set in place to keep athletes, workers, and military members safe and prevent overheating during exercise or job performance, which can lead to heat exhaustion, heat cramps, sunburn, and even heat stroke.
Learn more about WBGT here.

Kestrel Heat Stress Trackers Help Prevent Heat Illnesses

Athletic heat stress monitoring accurately measures environmental heat stress that may put athletes at risk during activity.

The Kestrel heat stress line offers rugged and highly accurate devices for monitoring and recording environmental conditions.

The #1 recommended WBGT monitoring tool is the Kestrel 5400 Heat Stress Tracker Pro. It’s the next generation heat stress device that offers an array of conveniences with exceedingly accurate readings, giving both athletes and coaches reliable information to make safe decisions.

The device is handheld, portable, and does not require the use of distilled water for usage. Simply holding the athletic heat monitoring device in the desired area is enough to get an immediate reading.

Built-in Warning System for Dangerous Heat

When conditions are unsafe for training or working, the Kestrel 5400 Heat Stress Tracker Pro will sound with a loud buzzer. There is also a bright LED beacon and on-screen warnings that instantly alert users of dangerous training environments.


  • Ensure hydration
    • To ensure hydration, athletes can observe the color of your urine, which should be a light yellow or the color of lemonade, or compare to a urine color chart. Your urine should be a color 3 or less.
    • Measure the athletes’ weight before and after each practice to ensure they do not lose more than 2% of their pre-workout weight, assuming they started in a hydrated state. Use the equation: (Pre-exercise weight minus post-exercise weight divided by pre-exercise weight) x 100. By the time next practice begins, athletes should ingest fluids and weigh the original weight. This equation assumes that they do not eat, drink or go to the bathroom during practice.
    • Encourage drinking throughout practice, in the shade if possible, and throughout the day, especially when having multiple practices.
    • As they become used to exercising in the heat they will sweat more and therefore need to replace a greater amount of fluids during the course of the workout.
    • Encourage drinking both water and fluids containing sodium.
  • Wear loose-fitting, absorbent or moisture wicking clothing
  • During hot or humid conditions minimize the amount of equipment and clothing worn.
  • Sleep at least 6–8 hours and eat a well-balanced diet.
  • Practice and perform conditioning drills at appropriate times during the day, avoiding the hottest part of the day (10am–5pm).
  • Work with coaches and administration to follow acclimation guidelines.
  • Slowly progress the amount of time and intensity of conditioning and practices throughout the season.
  • Ensure that proper medical coverage is provided and familiar with exertional heat illness (EHI) policies.
  • Include EHI questions on pre-participation exam to identify high-risk individuals.
  • Make sure your policies and procedures are consistent with the best practice guidelines for preseason heat acclimatization; adapt individuals to heat gradually over 10–14 day period.
  • Educate other medical staff, athletes, coaches, emergency personnel, and parents about EHI and proper hydration.
  • Ensure proper body cooling methods are available, including a cold-water immersion tub, ice towels, access to water, ice, etc. and that this equipment is prepared before practices begin.
  • Establish guidelines for hot, humid weather including; Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) readings, time of activity, intensity/duration, equipment issues, rest/water breaks.
  • Be aware of the intrinsic factors (mostly in your control/items you can adjust) and extrinsic factors (mostly outside your control) that cause EHS

Source: Korey Stringer Institute

Indoor & Outdoor Heat Stress Monitoring Solutions

Kestrel Instruments offers innovative solutions for monitoring heat stress both indoors and outdoors. The Kestrel 5400 Heat Stress Tracker is a portable and easy-to-use device that measures environmental parameters such as temperature, humidity, and air flow to calculate the heat index and WBGT (Wet Bulb Globe Temperature) index, providing an accurate assessment of heat stress risk for outdoor workers. Additionally, Kestrel offers a Heat Stress Monitoring System for indoor jobsite monitoring, which includes sensors placed throughout the workplace to measure environmental conditions, providing real-time data and alerts to prevent heat stress injuries. With these solutions, Kestrel Instruments helps companies and organizations prioritize the safety and well-being of their employees in hot and potentially dangerous work environments.

Learn more about worker safety and OSHA regulations here.

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