Although we probably only have about five days of summer in this country, we certainly know about it when they’re here! With the current warm snap, it’s worth considering some hints to beat the heat when working outside.
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate! You should be drinking water or other fluids every 15-20 minutes. Cool water should be your main source of hydration. Avoid coffee, fizzy drinks and (of course) alcohol which contain diuretics and will cause you to become dehydrated.Some of the symptoms of dehydration include increased thirst, dry mouth ad swollen tongue, inability to sweat, weakness, dizziness and decreased urine output. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should immediately take a break and rehydrate.
- Get acclimatised. It will take 5-7 days to get used to working in high temperatures. Do take a break if you feel over exerted.
- Get an early start. Plan your day to minimise as much strenuous work between the hours of 3pm and 6pm as these are the hottest hours due to heat build up.
- Take frequent breaks in the shade. Whenever you are feeling overheated or presenting symptoms of heat stress, you should take at least a five minute break in the shade. This is also a great time to rehydrate if you haven’t already done so.
- Lather on the sunscreen. Try to find a high factor sunscreen that doesn’t sweat off. Remember to reapply frequently.
- Keep cool. Consider jumping into an airconditioned car or van for five minutes or so. Alternatively apply a cool wet cloth to pulse points on your body such as the neck, wrists and elbows. Maybe stick your feet into a bucket of cold water (take your stinking boots off first!).
- Know the signs. Symptoms can arise quickly so it’s important to monitor yourself and keep an eye on your colleagues. If any of the symptoms above are shown, seek first aid IMMEDIATELY.
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