With the recent heat wave we've been experiencing, I thought it would be a good time to revisit an article that I originally wrote for ACRC's "The BluePrint" newsletter back in 2016! Some great and timely advice! The original article can be found at the following link, on page 9! http://www.acrc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/The-Blueprint-Spring-Summer-2016-E-Final.pdf
Few of us can deny the importance of getting enough water each day, yet surprisingly many of us fall short. A recent study suggests that 2/3 of people aren’t getting enough. While the usual advice is “everyone should drink eight glasses of water a day”, water consumption is not really a “one size fits all” type of solution. On average, an adult female should be drinking around 9 cups (or 2.2 liters) of water per day, and for men? A whopping 13 cups, or 3 litres of water, should be consumed.
Why is water so important anyway? Well for starters, 65% of our body is composed of water, and the more active we are, the greater the need to replenish what is being used. Most especially for people who work outside in the heat (and summer IS coming!), as you’re exerting yourself and sweating it’s even more important to keep the fluids in you. The rule of thumb is to drink a cup of water every 20 minutes to help keep you hydrated and protected from the heat.
Your body uses water in your digestive system, from start to finish (do we really need to elaborate on the “finish”?), to produce energy, for electrical messages between your cells so your muscles can move and your eyes can see, to keep your mind sharp, and to regulate your body temperature.
Not getting enough water can have some extremely adverse effects on the body. It’s important to know the signs to watch for, to not only protect yourself but the people you work with too. Below are the symptoms to be aware of and what you should do if you or someone you work with begins to experience these symptoms.
What you’re feeling: Dizzy, lightheaded, heart seems to be pumping louder than it should.
- What it could be: Fainting or Heat Collapse
- What you should do: Drink water, move around (remember to bend your knees periodically when you’re standing for long periods of time), and take needed breaks in the shade.
What you’re feeling: Confused, angry, and delirium (at times, pupils will be dilated and possible convulsions)
- What it could be: Heat Stroke
- What you should do: Call for medical, find a cool area, soak clothes with water and stay with the person until help arrives.
What you’re feeling: weakness, giddiness, nausea, chills and headache
- What it could be: Heat Exhaustion
- What you should do: Lie down in a cool place and drink cool non-alcoholic beverages
What you’re feeling: A painful muscle spasm
- What it could be: Heat cramp
- What you should do: Drink clear juice or electrolytes (Gatorade). Seek medical treatment if cramps last more than one hour.
With a little knowledge, you can help protect yourself and your co-workers. Work Safe this summer!