Staying Cool

The heat and humidity have risen.  Work areas that are not cooled present uncomfortable, inefficient, unproductive and sometimes hazardous working conditions.

High heat and humidity can lead to heatstroke, fainting, stress, cramps, etc. Be careful while working in high heat and humidity.  Try implementing the following suggestions.  The suggestions are designed to help maintain a proper body temperature.  You may not “chill out” but you will be more comfortable, efficient, productive and safe.

  1. Slowly get used to the heat.  If your activity involves strenuous work, “warm up” slowly before going full bore.  This warm up is no different than what athletes do before taking part in an event.  You should slowly peak your efforts until a comfort zone is reached.
  2. Use planned and management agreed upon flex time.  Do jobs that require high energy during a cooler period of the day.
  3. Watch your weight.  If you daily drop large amounts it is probably caused by liquid loss.  Drink plenty of water.  Avoid caffeine-based beverages.  These will actually increase dehydration.
  4. Rest and water breaks should be planned and followed.  Research indicates the following standards to follow in your efforts to stay cool.
    • In the 80 – 90 degree range drink 16 ounces of water while resting for ten minutes out of every hour.
    • In the 91 – 105 degree range drink 32 ounces of water while resting for 10 minutes out of every hour.
    • Above 106 degrees you should consume 64 ounces of water and rest fifteen minutes out of every hour.
      • Outdoor dress and protection are important.  Wear light colored clothing, which will reflect the sunlight and its heat.  Never wear dark colors that will absorb the heat.  Wear hats and protective sun lotion.

      Monitor yourself and your fellow workers for any sign of heat produced health problems.  If the symptoms are noted take steps immediately to protect yourself and/or others. The following are some symptoms to watch for:

      1. Heatstroke: This is the biggest threat to your safety and health.  One’s skin becomes hot and dry.  Stumbling and weaving characterize walking.  Dizziness occurs and may lead to unconsciousness.  Heatstroke can be deadly.

      2. Fainting: The symptoms are obvious.  It usually occurs when one rushes into an activity.  It can even occur while one is standing still.

      3. Cramps: your body needs fluid. 

      4. Exhaustion: One sweats profusely, yet still feels clammy and may look ashen.  Vomiting occurs, body temperature begins to rise, the headache is there, and finding one’s way may be difficult.  This is usually the last step before heatstroke.

      Be careful on the job.  Take care of yourself.  We all need a healthy you.