Beat the Heat by Staying Hydrated

During my time in the military, a common phrase I heard while training in the field was, “hydrate or die”.  Although it may not have been the best way to put it, it was an effective reminder to keep hydrated while we were out sweating and working in the sun.

After months of complaining about the cold and snowy weather we’ve been experiencing in the North, the warmer temperatures have finally arrived. The extreme heat and longer days also bring a greater risk of heat exhaustion and dehydration. As with most landscaping, factory, construction, or agriculture-related work, employees are often exposed to long hours in the sun or in extreme temperatures. These conditions left unchecked can be extremely harmful to a person’s physical well-being and their ability to be a productive and efficient employee. Therefore, it is vitally important to ensure you and your employees drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to not overheat and consequently, become dehydrated or worse, suffer from heat stroke or even death.

According to Ergodyne, typical signs of dehydration or heat exhaustion include “thirst, fatigue, dark colored urine, muscle cramps, nausea, dizziness or confusion, and hot, dry skin.” [1] The first step to help prevent these symptoms is to consume adequate amounts of water both before, during, and after work (the general guideline is one quart per hour of active work or exercise for the average adult). There are also several other steps you can take to be sure that you and your employees do not become a victim of heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Since many of us do not have the luxury of spending our work days in the comfort of air conditioning with plenty of access to cold water, the following are easy steps to take that can greatly reduce the potential of dehydration.

  • Avoid caffeinated drinks as they act as a diuretic to make you lose more water. [3]
  • Live Science recommends “eating at least five cups of fruits and vegetables per day for optimum health, as they all contain various levels of water and the all-important nutrient potassium.” [2]
  • If possible, allow rest breaks every 30 to 45 minutes in a shaded area; if available, move into an air-conditioned area during your break period.
  • Wear loose and light-colored clothing, in addition to sunscreen and sunglasses, to limit the harmful effects of the sun on your skin and eyes.
  • Monitor fluid loss by checking the color of your urine. It should be pale yellow and not dark yellow, too smelly, or cloudy.

These are just a few keys steps in helping to ensure you stay properly hydrated during the workday. Staying hydrated will help your work day be more enjoyable and productive.


[1] How to Prevent Dehydration – ToolBox Talks.

[2] Tallmadge, K. (2013, July 30). 13 Tips for Staying Hydrated in the Summer Heat (Op-Ed).

[3] WRAL. (2017, July 03). 5 important hydration tips to stay safe in the heat.

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