Summer Heat Stress: Tips for Safely Working in the Summer Heat

Original Source: Government of South Australia--SafeWork SA

Summer Heat Stress: Tips for Safely Working in the Summer Heat

            Whether you’re power sweeping and landscaping like Dare or just working outside in your garden, summer time can bring some dangerous situations. Here are several tips and insights gathered from around the web to help you stay safe.

Mr. Golden Sun

            What were they teaching us all in preschool when they had us sing, “Please shine down on me!” The truth of course is you want to keep the sun off of your skin. Familydoctor.org states that, “Too much sun exposure allows UV rays to reach your inner skin layers. You know this as sunburn. This can cause skin cells to die, damage, or develop skin cancer.”

            Sunburn is much more than just itchy and annoying, it’s dangerous to your health. Familydoctor.org advises to use a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, to apply 30 minutes before going outside, and to reapply every 2 hours. They also advise to reapply after sweating, and if you’re working outdoors under the hot sun, this means you should apply often.

The Heat of the Moment

            The sun isn’t the only thing to consider when working outside. We all know how hot it can get on a day with no sun and gray overcast. Plus, a lot of Dare employees work at night when, despite the lack of sun, the temperature can still be very hot and humid. Staying hydrated is what’s most important. According to Marshalsterling.com, it’s important to wear, “loose-fitting, breathable clothing…eat smaller meals before work activity…[and to] drink plenty of water before you get thirsty.” They also advise to skip caffeinated and sugary drinks such as soda.

            Marshallsterling.com list the signs of dehydration as:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Sleepiness or tiredness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

Tick Tips

            Heat and sun aren’t the only things that bug me about summer—ticks and other insects can be a real threat to our health. CDC.gov provides great information on preventing tick bites. They advise that before you head outdoors, know where to expect ticks, treat clothing and gear, and to use EPA registered insect repellents. CDC.gov says that, “Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas, or even on animals.” So, make a point to consider your environment before step two, which is to, “Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin.” Although this stuff is excellent for protecting adults, the CDC says to keep it away from young children. Once back indoors, make sure you check yourself for ticks.

            And of course, use your common sense. If you are venturing into a grassy or wooded area, it’s best to cover up. Sure, you might be a little warmer than usual but covering your arms and legs can help keep nasty critters, such as ticks, off of your skin. Just make sure you cover up with clothing that will not make you too hot. It’s all about balance!

There you have it! Make sure to keep cool, drink plenty of water, and to check out the links below for more info on how to stay safe while working in the summer heat. I don’t know about you but I can’t wait for autumn!

Resources

Effects of Sun Exposure

Summer Precautions for Outdoor Workers

Preventing Tick Bites

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