One of the leading causes of a heat-related illness is dehydration. Dehydration occurs when the body does not get the amount of water it needs to function properly. The body naturally loses water through urination, sweating, crying, spitting, exercising, and breathing. Water can also be lost due to illness (i.e., fever, vomiting, etc.) and taking diuretics. To avoid possible health problems, you must be able to recognize the hazards that can lead to dehydration and know how to protect yourself. Read the information below, and ask yourself if there are actions you can take to keep your body sufficiently hydrated.
Recognize the Hazards
Exposure to hot temperatures can lead to a loss of body fluids. Signs of dehydration include a dry, sticky mouth, dark yellow urine, headaches, and cramps. Symptoms of severe dehydration include very dry skin, dizziness, rapid heartbeat and breathing, fainting, lack of energy, and dry mouth.
Working in areas with little or no air conditioning causes the body to work harder to cool itself. Likewise, wearing personal protective equipment raises body temperatures and leads to sweating.
Forgetting to drink water or consuming alcohol and caffeinated drinks can lead to dehydration. Older adults and persons with type-2 diabetes are at higher risk and must take extra care to replenish fluids.
Know the Defense
Drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day is recommended. Eating fruits and vegetables with high water content can also provide additional hydration. If you exercise or exert yourself at work, be sure to replenish those fluids in addition to consuming the recommended amount of water.
Be Attentive to the Surroundings
Monitor weather forecasts for hot temperatures and poor air quality warnings. Plan ahead and pack extra water and food with high water content. Plan frequent breaks to replenish fluids.
Eat Foods with High Water Content
- Star fruit
- Iceberg lettuce
- Bell peppers
- Baby carrots
Note: These lists are not intended to be all-inclusive.
The information in this article is provided as a courtesy of Great West Casualty Company and is part of the Value-Driven® Company program. Value-Driven Company was created to help educate and inform insureds so they can make better decisions, build a culture that values safety, and manage risk more effectively. To see what additional resources Great West Casualty Company can provide for its insureds, please contact your safety representative, or click below to find an agent.
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