Performing strenuous work in hot and humid conditions can lead to dehydration and heat stress, increased risk of injury, reduced productivity and in the worst cases death.
But how will you know that you are experiencing dehydration? When would you need to re-hydrate and replenish your electrolytes?
Warning Sign #1: Heavy Sweating
While sweating normally occurs, especially if you are engaged in a physically intensive job, sweating out a lot of fluid may be a sign that you are getting dehydrated and fast. If this happens, make sure to replenish by drinking water or better yet, an electrolyte-formulated drink.
Warning Sign#2: Dark Urine
You should look both on the regularity of your urination and the colour of your urine. If you haven’t gone to the bathroom for about 2 hours, this means you haven’t drunk any water. Also, if your urine appears darker like apple juice, instead of being pale, you may be dehydrated. However, this is not always the case as vitamin food supplements, alcohol and certain diets may also affect your urine colour.
Warning Sign #3: Dry Mouth and Skin
If your mouth feels dry and sticky, this means that you are not drinking enough fluids for the day. Similarly, if your skin seems to be dry and has lost some elasticity, it is a clear sign that you are losing a lot of fluid inside your body. Make sure to rehydrate regularly all throughout the day to avoid these symptoms.
Warning Sign #4: Dizziness
If you are starting to feel woozy and lightheaded while doing your work, it could be the effects of a dropped blood pressure due to being dehydrated. Remember that your blood is made up mostly of water. Thus, if you lose a lot of water without replenishment, you may feel dizzy and at worst, you’ll become confused.
Warning Sign #5: Headache
When dehydrated and with a dropping blood pressure, your body will have a hard time pumping blood and oxygen to your brain. This will then result into a headache. If this happens, make sure to take a break from what you are doing and rehydrate. Do not force your body to continue working as long as the headache stays to avoid further complications.
Warning Sign #6: Confusion and Loss of Focus
Your brain is made up of more than 90% of water. Thus, if you are dehydrated, your brain cells and nerves may not function properly. Short loss of memory and poor mental concentration may occur which can then result to poor work performance. Loss of proper focus may also result to accidents in the workplace that can cause serious injuries.
Very recently an apprentice in South Australia was taken to hospital after experiencing the extreme side effects of dehydration.