Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate some more
When it’s hot, thirst is not always the best indicator of your body’s hydration needs. In fact, if you wait until you’re thirsty before you drink water, you may be well beyond the time when you need to replenish fluids. Make sure you drink something — water is your best bet — every 15 to 20 minutes.
What’s more, you should start drinking even before your day gets underway to make sure you begin the job fully hydrated. The best way to make sure you’re never short of fluids, especially water, is to bring a water bottle with you to the job and refill it throughout the day. f you’re a manager concerned about performance, getting custom water bottles for your team will help boost morale and encourage them to stay hydrated.
Go easy on the caffeine
Many of us love the morning boost that a good cup of coffee provides. But when a heat wave is on, don’t overdo it on the caffeine, as that in excess can prompt dehydration. Don’t forget that energy drinks usually have a healthy dose of it as well, so even if you think you need a lift from one to get through a tough afternoon, try to avoid it when you’re trying to beat the heat
Dress for success
When the sun is especially punishing, it’s critical to keep yourself protected from its rays. That means wearing cool, loose-fitting clothing in light-colored fabrics that breathe and help your body maintain a healthy temperature. If you can wear a hat on the job, do it.
While it’s tempting to strip off clothing when the heat is soaring, leaving skin exposed to the sun won’t help keep you cool. It could even lead to severe sunburns or heat stroke, conditions that are not only dangerous and unhealthy but could also keep you off the job.
Put a damp towel in the freezer the night before
Wrap the towel around your neck as your work day gets underway. Not only will it protect your neck from the harmful effects of the sun but it will keep cooling you as it melts.
You can also benefit just by rubbing ice wrapped in a cloth on various parts of your body. It sounds a bit gross, but those armpits are a great place to start. Put a cold block of ice under your pits, and you’ll feel cooler in a hurry.
If you’re working in the heat, avoid a heavy lunch, especially protein-rich meats. You’re better off with smaller snacks and light meals throughout the day, as your body creates more metabolic heat if it’s breaking down heavy foods.
Try to ensure your hot weather diet includes plenty of leafy green vegetables or fresh fruit and nuts to help replenish your electrolytes. And while it may seem counter-intuitive, spicy food can cool you down, as they stimulate heat receptors in your mouth, enhance circulation and cause you to sweat, which is your body’s natural way of cooling.
Even if you’re properly dressed for the conditions, and you’ve covered your body in sunscreen, it’s a good idea to look for any opportunity to get out of the sun during your workday. Take breaks in the shade and, if possible, move some tasks to covered areas. If there are projects you can rotate among the crew, make sure you do so in a way that gives everyone a break from the sun.
Drink a lot of water
Yes, proper hydration was already mentioned. But if there’s one bit of advice here that bears repeating, it’s this one. It’s important to keep a water bottle — a custom stainless-steel water bottle that will stand up to the demands of the job — with you all the time.
Consuming fluids at regular intervals throughout the day will help you maintain your energy and keep you healthy. Don’t skimp on it. If the heat has you beat, consider a drink that will replenish lost electrolytes. Just be careful you don’t choose one that’s loaded with sugar or empty carbohydrates.
Don’t ignore the warning signs
Sometimes, despite the best efforts of you and your crew, the heat can simply overwhelm a team member. Stay alert for the warning signs of heat exhaustion, which are heavy sweating, rapid pulse, dizziness, goosebumps on the skin, muscle cramps and headache. Heat exhaustion is a precursor to the more serious heat stroke, which can typically be identified by a lack of sweating, nausea and vomiting, mental confusion, flushed skin, rapid breathing and a racing pulse.
Sweating is a sign that your body is functioning like it should as it tries to reduce its temperature through evaporation. In fact, if you’re battling heat and you suddenly stop sweating, it’s a warning sign of heatstroke. So, don’t be concerned about sweating on hot days on the job, but do take measures if you notice that it stops.
If you sense that you or someone else is suffering from heat exhaustion, get them out of the sun and into a cooler setting. If you believe it has moved on to the more serious heat stroke, seek medical attention immediately. Remember to always err on the side of caution when working outside in the heat; your health is too important to do anything else.
There are all kinds of ways to stay cooler during extreme heat. When the temperatures rise, but the job needs to get done, make sure you arrive at the worksite with a plan for staying healthy. Use as many of these tips as you possibly can, and don’t underestimate the seriousness of high temperatures on the body.