If you’re working outside this summer, it’s highly important to stay properly hydrated. Your body cools itself via sweating – in fact, that’s why people sweat when it’s hot. And your body needs water to continue to sweat.
If you don’t get sufficient water during the day, your body is still going to try to sweat. You then run the risk of dehydration, which can lead to heat stroke and even death.
Here’s how to stay hydrated on the job.
Drink enough water
What’s enough water to drink during the day? It varies by heat. If you are working in temperatures of 103 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit, drinking four cups of water per hour is recommended. That’s one cup per 15 minutes.
If you need to wear personal protection equipment (PPE), which can increase your body’s temperature, you might need even more. If you feel thirsty, drink water. Under more normal temperature conditions, workers outside should drink eight to 12 glasses of water per day. If your employer supplies water bottles, use them. If not, bring your portable water bottle.
Stay away from caffeine
Don’t think that drinking a liquid other than water will hydrate you properly. Liquids that contain caffeine, like coffee, soda, and even tea can deplete your electrolytes rapidly and dehydrate you faster. Stick to water to hydrate.
Take frequent breaks
Working outside in the hot sun can be bad for your health if you do it nonstop. Excessive heat is known to affect concentration and performance on the job. Employers should provide a place to take a break out of the sun. Take breaks frequently enough so that you can maintain job performance.
Know the signs of dehydration
People who are dehydrated develop physical symptoms. They can become dizzy, unfocused, develop a dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, or excessive thirst. If you notice these symptoms in yourself or a coworker, drink water and get help.
Monitoring the color of your urine can be a guide to whether you are properly hydrated. If your urine is clear or pale yellow, you’re fine. Keep drinking water to stay that way!
But if your urine becomes bright yellow, you are on the way to becoming dehydrated. Drink more water. If your urine becomes dark yellow, you definitely not hydrating enough and may well be dehydrated. Drink a bottle of water right away.
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