Stay hydrated - It’s getting hot out there

Stay hydrated - It’s getting hot out there

This summer is forecasted to be hotter than average. Spring will also be experiencing hotter temperatures than normal during the day. Coupled with low rainfall, the next six months are going to be very hot and very dry.

Working in a trade industry, apprentices and trainees are going to feel the brunt of this. Whether you work outside or in a workshop, dealing with the heat and staying well-hydrated need to be a top priority. 

The dangers of dehydration
On average, adults lose as much as 10 cups of water a day through sweating, breathing and emitting waste. During the hotter summer months this amount easily increases. If you don’t replenish this lost fluid, dehydration can turn into a potentially life-threatening condition.

Dehydration occurs when the body doesn’t have enough water and electrolytes to carry out its normal functions. Without enough water the body literally dries out.

Symptoms of dehydration
There are three different stages of dehydration – mild, moderate and severe. While mild dehydration is relatively easy to treat, more advanced cases may require medical intervention. 

The symptoms of dehydration in its stages are as follows:

Mild dehydration

  • Thirst
  • Dry lips
  • Dry mouth
  • Flushed skin
  • Fatigue 
  • Headache
  • Darker urine
  • Decreased urine output
  • Muscle weakness

Moderate dehydration

  • Skin doesn’t bounce back quickly when pressed
  • Very dry mouth
  • Sunken eyes
  • Very dark urine
  • Cramps
  • Stiff and/or painful joints
  • Severe irritability
  • Severe headache

Severe dehydration

  • Blue lips
  • Blotchy skin
  • Confusion
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of sweating
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Rapid breathing
  • Rapid and weak pulse
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • High fever

How to treat dehydration
If you suspect that you or one of your workmates are suffering from dehydration, you need to replenish fluids levels as soon as possible. The best way to do this is by consuming water, ice blocks or a sports drink (such as Powerade or Gatorade). Someone suffering from dehydration should also avoid drinks containing caffeine (such as coffee, teas or energy drinks) as well as soft drinks. If a person is suffering from a more advanced stage of dehydration they will require medical attention in order to receive intravenous fluids.

Preventing dehydration
Prevention is the most effective treatment of dehydration. By drinking plenty of fluids and eating foods that have a high water content such as fruits and vegetables, this is enough for most people to avoid dehydration. 

While preforming activities outside or in a hot environment be sure to take plenty of breaks in shaded areas, wear sun protection, and prioritise drinking fluids. Avoiding or limiting drinks like coffee, tea, soft drinks and energy drinks also help to prevent dehydration.

This summer is going to be a hot one so make sure you keep yourself and your work mates well hydrated.  


Published 24 September 2019