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sick farm worker

Is It Heat Exhaustion or Pesticide Poisoning?

Sometimes the symptoms of pesticide poisoning can be confused with other illnesses. Anyone who works with or near pesticides should be aware of the symptoms of pesticide poisoning.

Pesticide applicators who work with organophosphate or carbamate insecticides in warm and hot conditions need to be especially aware of the difference between heat exhaustion and pesticide poisoning. It is not always easy to tell if a person is suffering from heat exhaustion or pesticide poisoning.

The EPA has provided the following chart to help you compare symptoms.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion Symptoms of Organophosphate/ Carbamate Poisoning
Sweating Sweating
Headache Headache
Fatigue Fatigue
Dry membranes Moist membranes
Dry mouth Salivation
No tears Tears
No spit present Spit present in mouth
Fast pulse (slow if person has fainted) Slow pulse
Nausea Nausea and diarrhea
Dilated pupils Possibly small pupils
Central nervous system depression Central nervous system depression
Loss of coordination Loss of coordination
Confusion Confusion
Fainting (prompt recovery) Coma (can’t waken)

If pesticide poisoning is suspected call 911 immediately!

If you suspect heat exhaustion, the Mayo Clinic recommends that you:

  • Move the person out of the heat and into a shady or air-conditioned place.
  • Lay the person down and elevate the legs and feet slightly.
  • Remove tight or heavy clothing.
  • Have the person drink cool water or other nonalcoholic beverage without caffeine.
  • Cool the person by spraying or sponging with cool water and fanning.
  • Monitor the person carefully.

Call 911 or your local emergency number if the person’s condition deteriorates, especially if he or she experiences:

  • Fainting
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Fever of 104 F (40 C) or greater

In either case, do not hesitate to seek medical attention. Call 911 if in doubt.

As of January 2, 2017, the EPA Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) requires employers to provide protections to workers and handlers from potential pesticide exposure. Pesticide safety training is part of the requirement.

Certified Training Institute has partnered with Mississippi State University to bring the highest quality pesticide education to the entire nation. This training is designed to help you comply with the new regulations.

Sign up today and begin your required training and stay in compliance with the new laws. Courses are available at our website – www.certifiedtraininginstitute.com/pesticide

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