June 4, 2021

Stay Hydrated. Stay Safe.

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The best way to beat the summer heat and avoid heat-related stress is to stay properly hydrated, drinking plenty of water, even before beginning to feel thirsty.

Heat-related illnesses are a serious hazard, especially during a long Louisiana summer. As temperatures rise, residents can expect averages of 90 degrees, with high humidity levels making it feel more like 120. For many workers, hot and humid conditions are a part of the job. While construction, utility, and agriculture workers often labor outside and are directly exposed to the elements, plant workers and those in processing facilities also face severe heat. In addition to external heat factors, many of these workers are required to wear heavy, protective apparel, further increasing the risk of heat stress.

Industry estimates place the number of workers at risk of heat stress between 5 and 10 million. A sign of heat stress is dehydration.  Ensuring proper hydration is an important way to reduce this health and safety risk.

10 SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION

  1. Extreme thirst
  2. Headache
  3. Fatigue and dizziness
  4. Muscle cramps
  5. High body temperatures
  6. Confusion
  7. Skin changes
  8. Rapid heartbeat
  9. Dry mouth
  10. Sunken eyes

5 TIPS FOR STAYING HYDRATED

  1. Drink water before, during, and after physical labor to replace body fluids lost in sweating.
  2. Keep a cooler or bottle of water nearby at all times.
  3. Track your water intake, making sure to drink 8 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Form a habit of drinking a glass of water with every meal or snack.
  5. Avoid coffee, tea, or soda, which can act as diuretics, further depleting your body of fluids.  

WHAT TO DRINK AND AVOID

Drinking clean, cool water is the most effective way to maintain hydration throughout the day. According to the CDC, when working in the heat, drink 1 cup, roughly 8 ounces, of water every 15-20 minutes, which translates to about 32 ounces per hour. Sports drinks are also an option, as they can often help replenish the body’s electrolytes.  

Two things to avoid when exposed to the heat are energy drinks and alcohol. Many energy drinks contain high amounts of sugar and caffeine, which can do more damage to your heart with the added heat strain on your body. Alcohol should also be avoided as it can cause accelerated dehydration. Drinking alcohol within 24 hours of working in the heat can increase your risk for heat illness.

Our blog August in Louisiana: Beat the Heat! recommends additional ways to prevent heat illness.

LWCC encourages employers and employees to take the right steps to staying hydrated. Being hydrated allows workers to feel more energized and focused throughout the day, so drink up!

For more information on proper hydration, click here, or refer to the CDC’s Heat Stress: Hydration flyer.

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