Ten Top Tips for keeping cool when working outside in the heat!
The UK is currently experiencing unprecedented hot weather which isn’t looking like it is going to end anytime soon. Working in the heat increases the risk of heat stress and dehydration. Those at the highest risk are those working outdoors, especially those whose work is physical.
Below are our Top Ten Tips which we hope you will find useful: –
1. Don’t wait until you are thirsty, get hydrated in advance. Drink small amounts regularly. The Australian government recommends 250mls every 15-20 mins.
2. Always carry a Drink Bottle. You will drink more without realising it if you have fluid readily available. You can then refill your drink bottle regularly.
3. Keep your eye on your toilet visits (I know weird right)! Urine Colour is the easiest way to monitor your hydration levels. Normal, healthy pee has a yellow colour and the darker that yellow becomes, the less hydrated your body is
4. Get Pre-hydrated. If you show up to work already hydrated and have plenty of fluids and hour before your shift you are not starting your work day with a fluid deficit.
5. Avoid Ice Cold Drinks. Cold water causes your blood vessels in your stomach to constrict, reducing the rate of fluid absorption. Cool water is absorbed faster.
6. Limit your tea, coffee and caffeine. Avoid having any as it increases water loss and contributes to dehydration.
7. Avoid Alcohol. Alcohol is a diuretic and causes severe dehydration. Even if you consume alcohol 24-36 hours before you are due to work your dehydration levels may still worsen throughout the shift.
8. Make sure you take your meal breaks. When it is hot you may not feel like eating but food contains water and is the primary means by which we replace lost fluids. Eating also helps to stimulate the thirst response, so we drink more. Do eat healthy though things such as leafy greens, nuts and fruit will replenish the electrolytes lost through sweat.
9. Slop on the sun tan lotion. Manage your exposure to the sun by wearing high factor sunscreen and taking regular breaks in shaded areas.
10. Dress Appropriately and wear lightweight clothes. Fabrics that are organic such as cotton breath better and promote airflow. Wear a sun hat to keep the sun off your face and neck.
If you are struggling in the heat the NHS has some good advice, to read more go to https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/heatwave-how-to-cope-in-hot-weather/