We hate to state the obvious, but it gets very, very hot in Texas during the summer months. For those individuals who have to or choose to work outside, it is extremely important to take the necessary precautions to protect your health. Heat illness and heat stroke are serious medical conditions that affect thousands of Americans, but particularly during the summer months, people should be extra careful.
Without further ado, here are 10 tips to help you have a safe summer while you work outdoors.
- Drink lots of water
It’s important to drink water even if you don’t feel thirsty. In extreme heat, you might be dehydrated and not realize it yet. Drink water ever 15-20 minutes and take breaks often.
2) Take a look at your urine
Okay, this might be a bit yucky, but our bodies have a natural check to see if you are hydrated: the color of your urine. If your urine is dark then you are not drinking nearly enough water!
3) Know when it’s too hot
Sometimes, when there is extreme heat in the triple digits, there is simply no getting around the fact that it is too hot outside. Limit your outdoor exposure or work in small increments.
4) In case of heat stroke
If someone is experiencing a heat stroke, it is important to act quickly. You can identify heat stroke from dilated pupils, delirium, confusion or angry behavior, and/or convulsions. If you believe someone is having a heat stroke, you need to take quick steps to help them. Take the individual to a cool area and then soak their clothes with water while also fanning the individual to try and bring down their temperature. You should keep doing this until help arrives. Do not give the person water. Heat stroke is extremely serious and requires hospitalizations to prevent brain damage or even death.
5) Stick with water
Whatever you do, avoid drinks with caffeine and alcohol. Both caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, which means that they actually contribute to you losing water more rapidly. Drinking caffeine or alcohol can increase the effects of dehydration, so if you are feeling thirsty, there is no substitute for water.
6) Wear sunscreen
Since you are going to be outside in the heat, it is important to protect your skin from the sun. Avoid working at peak hours of sun exposure if possible and take frequent breaks. You should also use sunscreen or sunblock to reduce your chance of developing skin cancer later on.
7) Put on a hat
A wide brimmed can make a huge difference. Keeping the sun off your neck or back is an ideal solution to not getting overheated. It might seem like a minor addition, but sometimes a little bit can go a long way.
8) Everyone is different when it comes to heat
Humans vary from individual to individual when it comes to their tolerance to heat. As a general rule of thumb, however, you should avoid extreme heat exposure if you are overweight, suffering from heart problems, are on a low-sodium, or taking certain medications. Talk to your doctor if you need to work outside and ask for advice.
9) Work smart
If you are able to and if you have a plan, you should schedule doing the most difficult work for early in the morning before the temperature rises. The last thing you want to do is to be exerting the most energy when you are overheated.
10) Consider buying a cool vest
If you work outside a lot during the summer, proper attire is essential. Organic material is the best at providing air circulation. However, for people who work outside a lot, you might want to consider a cool vest. These vests have cold packs inside the vest pockets to help lower your body temperature and prevent heat exhaustion.
Your body has many natural ways to lower your body temperature, like sweating. However, sometimes these simply aren’t enough. It is important to be careful when working outside, especially during the summer months. If you feel like you are experiencing heat stroke, heat collapse, or heal illness—or if you see someone you believe is experiencing any of these—it is essential that you call 9-1-1 and take immediate action.