June 23, 2015

By: Chelsea Haley, DKI Ventures, LLC

It is officially summer, and that means days are getting longer and HOTTER! With parts of the U.S. suffering from extreme heat lately, and the west coast rationing water usage during this misery, it’s important to be aware of the risks to stay safe.

Schedule your days early.

Though, in this industry, we can’t always plan our work schedules, when we do have flexibility, it’s best to begin work early in the cooler hours of the day.

Fuel yourself.

As it gets hotter, your body burns more fat and more energy. Especially if your work consists of outdoor environments, make sure to stay properly fueled – That means, drink lots of fluids and eat healthy. Water is your best source for hydration, as carbonated and sugary drinks (soda, juice) can pack too much sodium and sugar, causing your body to get a sugar high, then hit a slump. If water is boring for you, consider adding slices of fresh fruit to your water to liven up the flavor.

Try eating a breakfast with vitamins, fiber and calcium to keep your blood levels steady and begin your day with the utmost energy. Whether it’s a fully packed omelet, oatmeal with nuts and fruit or just a protein packed smoothie, don’t forget about the first meal of the day.

This will also prevent you from starvation, come lunchtime, because eating a lighter lunch will help diminish an afternoon slump. Avoid a food coma to remain alert throughout the day.

Stay shaded and dress appropriately.

If you do have to work in high peak hours of the heat, avoid direct sun exposure as best as you can.

  • Try to work in covered areas.
  • Wear a visor or wide-brim hard helmet.
  • Apply heavy sunscreen at all times.
  • Choose light colored shirts to reflect the sun.
  • Wear cotton material or fabrics that absorb sweat – polyester doesn’t breathe as well.

Be Alert.

In times of drought, one danger highly associated with extreme heat conditions is the occurrence of wildfires. Be aware and safe.

Another danger to watch out for is heat illness. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are common with physical exertion in hot environments, especially for long hours. It’s important to watch out for each other and the signs of heat illnesses. Early symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred Speech
  • Irritability
  • Profuse sweating