Summer heat – 6 tips for preventing illness while working outdoors

It’s hot, very hot! Air conditioning, a cold drink, a bowl of homemade ice cream and diving in to the pool are some of our favorite relief options for the summer heat.  But what if your job requires you to work outside and luxuries such as these are not available to you?  The following are suggestions to prevent heat stroke and other heat related issues while working in these current hot conditions:

1. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses.  These include headache, dizziness, weakness, confusion, irritability, thirst, nausea and vomiting.
2. Protect yourself from direct sunlight when at all possible.  Wear lightweight, light colored and loose fitting clothing.  
3. Use cooling fans and take rest breaks regularly from physical activity. 
4. Drink lots of water; about 1 pint per hour.  Waiting until you feel thirsty is too late.  Drink often and avoid caffeine and alcohol. 
5. Wear personal cooling products if possible.  Specially designed bandannas, headbands and other gear can be purchased, soaked in water and worn for several hours providing a cooling effect and reduction to body temperatures. 
6. Replace lost electrolytes by drinking sports beverages. 

Following these tips can help you survive even the hottest of days and help you avoid a medical emergency.  Stay safe and enjoy the summer.