Summer can be a wonderful time for enjoying the outdoors, but working on a hot day can cause dehydration to come up on you quicker than expected. Whether you work in construction, have a career as a field technician, or have a career that involves a significant time outdoors, then it’s essential to try and stay hydrated during the hot hours of the day because suffering from dehydration long-term can lead to some significant consequences.
Dehydration Illnesses During Summer
When the human body isn’t able to maintain normal temperatures, many heat-related illnesses can occur, and there are many work-related factors that can increase the risk of death from dehydration and overheating. Some of these risk factors include high humidity, hot air temperatures, direct sun exposure, high amounts of physical exertion, wearing personal protective equipment, and limited air movement. For workers, the best way to learn about the risk factors associated with their job is to speak with their healthcare provider or employer. In these cases, keeping cool and well hydrated during the summer is an essential part of keeping your body healthy and cool.
Our bodies maintain about 50-60% water and have 2.6 million sweat glands to help cool our bodies down when our bodies reach beyond normal temperatures. As sweat evaporates off our skin, it allows our body to cool down and remove heat. However, when we sweat, we also lose water and electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and chloride. Our bodies need these electrolytes to function, and this is why it is so important to stay hydrated. If our bodies are unable to stay hydrated for long periods, numerous heat-related illnesses, including:
- Heat Stroke: As the most serious health issue, the body is unable to regulate its own temperature, even with the production of sweat. The body’s temperature then rises to significant levels and causes confusion, seizures, profuse sweating, and loss of consciousness. This is an extreme medical emergency that often causes death, and it’s essential to get emergency help by calling 911.
- Heat Exhaustion: Heat exhaustion can also occur, and in these cases, urgent care or the emergency room can help relieve symptoms that include headaches, irritability, weakness, nausea, and dizziness.
- Heat Cramps: Muscle cramps from physical labor can also occur as a result of dehydration, caused by the loss of electrolytes. If you have heart conditions and/or are on a low sodium diet, get medical help. Replace fluids every 15 to 20 minutes through water or snacks.
- Heat Rashes: Often the most reoccurring problem, heat rashes need to be kept dry, baby or talcum powder should be used, and moving to a less humid environment can help heal the heat rash.
Preventing Heat Illness Through Urgent Care
If you’ve become severely dehydrated, then know that your local urgent care team will be able to help replenish your body with the electrolytes and nutrients it needs to get back in shape. Planning ahead is the most assured way to avoid dehydration, and at UP Clinics, we’ll provide you with some ways on how to keep your hydration levels up while out this summer.