It is so important that this time of year you take extra precautions to avoid the dangers of excessive heat. August is typically the hottest month of the year. But we have had a few months of extreme heat leading up to August, and that helps us get somewhat prepared. But you still have to remain vigilant when it comes to spotting the warning signs. Here are some tips to help you and your home beat the August heat:
1. Stay Hydrated with the Right Fluids – Not the Wrong Ones
Quenching your thirst does not necessarily mean that you are hydrating your body, and that can trick you into thinking that that you are getting enough water when you are not. Drinking alcohol before, during, or after exertion dehydrates the body significantly. The result is that your muscles get less of the vital fluids they need so you actually become weakened. That raises your risk of injury while reducing performance, plus alcohol reduces reaction times. So if you are working with a power saw or on a ladder, for example, you are inviting serious injury.
Contrary to popular belief, the Mayo Clinic confirms that caffeine does not dehydrate you – unless you drink too much. After a quart or so of coffee, soda, or other caffeinated beverages, though, experts explain that the caffeine starts to have a diuretic effect, depleting your body of fluids you need. So monitor your caffeine consumption or follow the Mayo Clinic’s advice and drink fresh, clean water instead. Make sure your children are drinking lots of water too, not just other kinds of popular drinks.Hydration also applies to pets, so be sure to keep them supplied with fresh, cool water that’s in a shady spot. Provide multiple dishes for them – like one indoors plus bowls in both the front and the back of the house – so they are always close to a source of water.
2. Don’t Avoid Proper Protective Gear
The hotter it gets, the more we tend to shed the clothes. But think twice before you remove the protective items, even if they do feel uncomfortable. You many need a hard hat, safety glasses, thick gloves, a dust mask or respirator, protective footwear, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts to protect you during many home maintenance activities. If the weather is just too hot to wear your safety gear then you have to postpone the job. Otherwise you could wind up regretting it and paying for expensive medical bills.
But there are many moisture-wicking fabrics on the market today, plus all-cotton work clothes that can help you beat the heat. Wearing light-colored clothing and a wide-brimmed hat can also help, when appropriate, so just try to dress sensibly while resisting the temptation to cut corners when it comes to workplace safety.
3. Change Your Work Schedule
To keep working even during the hottest days of the year in dessert climates like those in New Mexico and Arizona, contractors and others who work outside have learned to adapt. In a recent construction industry article in a trade magazine, for example, a fellow who owns a roofing company in one of those blazing hot regions of the United States described that his crews adjust their schedules in order to remain healthy without diminishing their productivity.
If it is cooler in the early morning hours where you live, for instance, consider getting started extremely early. As long as you have sufficient lighting to ensure a safe and feasible work environment you can even put in 2-3 hours before the sun is out. You can also work later in the evening. But if you are going to do that always knock off from work during the hours when the sun is peaking. You might experiment with working from 5 a.m. until 10 a.m., for instance, and then resuming work from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. That still gives you a full 8-hour day but keeps you out of the sun during the blistering hours.
By the time we get this deep into summer it’s good to show a little extra heat tolerance, and over the past several weeks we’ve had lots of chances to build up some endurance and stamina. We’ve certainly had enough practice, and when it’s hot enough to fry an egg on the hood of your car you have to just deal with it. But be cautious and don’t get complacent and so used to putting up with scorching heat that you accidentally fail to take care of yourself or your home. Otherwise what starts off as a typically miserable hot day can suddenly turn into a tragic one.
The number of emergency room visits and 9-1-1 calls related to heat stroke, exhaustion, heart attack, and other potentially deadly medical events always spikes when the temperatures spike. But we don’t want you to become another one of those unfortunate statistics, especially when you can safeguard yourself by following these few easy tips and common sense guidelines.