Summer months mean hot weather, which can create safety concerns for many workers. Issues can range from relatively minor heat cramps to more serious and even life-threatening conditions like heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Here are five tips to help you beat the heat and stay safe on the job.
1. Wear Protective Clothing and Sunglasses
To shield yourself from high heat and harsh UV rays, you’ll want to wear clothing with tightly woven fabric. “The easiest way to test if a fabric can protect your skin is to hold it up to the light,” explains the Skin Cancer Foundation. “If you can see through it, then UV radiation can penetrate it – and your skin.” A hat with at least two-inch brim on each side is ideal for protecting your head and face. And UV blocking sunglasses will protect your eyes and the sensitive skin around them.
2. Use Sunscreen
You’ll want to apply sunscreen to any bodily areas not covered by protective clothing. Applying it to your face, neck, ears and arms is especially important because they receive the most sun exposure. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 30.
3. Seek Shade Whenever Possible
It’s also important to stay out of the sun as much as you can. Staying in the shade can make you feel 10 – 15 degrees cooler, according to Superior Sun Solutions, which can make a big difference on hot days.
4. Drink Water Frequently
Dehydration is a major concern in the heat, with symptoms including headache, dizziness, confusion and fatigue. The body needs more fluids than normal to offset higher temperatures, explains Melly Goodell, MD at the Medstar Franklin Square Medical Center. As a result, you’ll want to drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day and carry a water bottle with you to refill when needed.
5. Avoid Dehydrating Beverages
Besides increasing your water intake, you’ll want to avoid beverages like caffeinated coffee, tea, soda and energy drinks. These can lead to dehydration and put you at a greater risk of heat stroke.
Heat-related illness is no laughing matter, with roughly 658 Americans succumbing to extreme heat each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Following these five tips should help you stay safe as the mercury rises.
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