Heat and Hydration Safety Tips

Posted on 06/19 by Erin Helms

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If you work outside or in an environment where you feel the heat, you know it’s important to drink enough water in order to keep your body functioning properly. But why is that important? And are there other ways to keep yourself hydrated? Here are some tips and tricks to stay safe.

Why Do We Sweat?

We sweat to stay cool and regulate our body temperature. Did you know the average person has an astonishing 2.6 million sweat glands? When we sweat, we lose water and important salts and nutrients that our bodies need to function properly. Water and electrolytes, like sodium, chloride and potassium, make up about 60% of our body overall. When we’re low on electrolytes, some of our metabolic functions get wonky and stop working properly.

Signs of Dehydration

When we get dehydrated, we can get dizzy or have clouded thoughts, our muscles can start to cramp up, and some people even develop strong headaches. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends workers drink one cup of water every 15-20 minutes for moderate activity and moderate conditions, with a larger consumption rate encouraged when the temperature goes up. If plain water isn't appealing, add some fruit to double-dip on your hydration sources, or try coconut water as an alternative.

Beyond Water for Hydration

Water isn’t the only beverage that can help you hydrate. Drinking water will replace hydration, but it won’t replace those important electrolytes. That’s where other options come into play. Some sports drinks are specially made to boost a person’s electrolyte level during intense activity; there are also powdered supplements that can be added to water to help replace important salts and boost your hydration levels to keep your fluid levels high.

Try a Probiotic

Consider adding a probiotic to your daily routines. We have good and bad bacteria throughout our bodies, especially in our mouths, stomachs, and digestive tracts. When those bacteria levels get out of whack, our overall health can get thrown off course too, including how hydrated we are. Taking a probiotic can help fight off infections and boost your immune system while also improving your body’s ability to absorb and retain nutrients, including water and those all-important electrolytes.

When is The Best Time to Start Hydrating?

Start hydrating in the morning to have a good day. If you know you’ll be out in the heat or working in a cramped, hot environment, set yourself up for success with a hydrating breakfast. Add some fruit to whatever you’re eating, or make a smoothie or protein shake with fresh or frozen fruit, maybe even a little coconut water, to top off your internal water table before the day begins. If you start to feel dizzy, or your muscles start to cramp, or you notice you’re not sweating anymore, it’s time to take a break and get something to drink as soon as possible, preferably in a cool, shady spot.

Your Safety is Our Priority

If you're looking for a construction, flagging, or other job that requires outdoor work, check out our job board. Our recruiters are experts at helping you find a job that matches your skills and preferences. You can also rest assured that your safety is always our number one priority. Get back to work with LaborMAX!

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