STAY HYDRATED DURING THE WORKDAY!

STAY HYDRATED DURING THE WORKDAY!

Water is essential to our body. It helps to digest foods, makes up a large portion of our blood volume, helps maintain our blood pressure, is a large component of our muscles (~80% of your muscles are water!), and helps to regulate our body temperature. Not only can dehydration impact your mood, but it can also impact your work in the heat.

Working in the heat is already hard enough mentally and physically. But if you’re dehydrated on top of that, you will experience even greater physiological strain, and you might notice that your mood and cognition are worse too. This combination of being dehydrated AND working in the heat will increase the odds of accidents at work, decrease your performance, and increase your risk for heat-releated injuries and illnesses. But don’t worry, there is an easy fix for this…. drinking water!

So how do you stay hydrated throughout the work day?

  • Start by drinking a glass of water when you wake up in the morning. Starting your day hydrated will help to keep your core temperature lower by allowing for your body to sweat adequately (and get rid of heat) throughout the work day.
  • If possible, carry a water bottle with you throughout the day to make drinking water easy and accessible. If it’s not cold water, don’t worry about it. Although it may not be pleasant to drink, warm water won’t necessarily make you hotter.
  • Don’t limit your water intake and always drink when you’re thirsty.
  • NIOSH & OSHA recommend drinking ~8 oz water (1 cup) every 15-20 minutes. But may not be the correct amount for you. For a more accurate hydration plan, you’ll need to calculate your normal sweat rate. Kenzen can help you & your team with this. But for right now, you can weigh yourself before vs. after your workday to figure out exactly how much water you lost (through sweating).

Rule of thumb: you need to drink 20 oz. (about 1.5 water bottles) of water per pound of body weight lost through sweating.

  • Limit alcohol intake. Alcohol dehydrates you and impacts your body’s ability to properly regulate body temperature.

  • Good news: if you regularly consume caffeine, it will not impact your hydration or your ability to work in the heat. So don’t worry about having your 2-3 cups of coffee or tea each day.

How can you check to make sure you’re staying hydrated?

Your urine color (in the toilet bowl) should be a lemonade color (or lighter). This is the easiest way to check that you’re hydrated.

If you’re using a porta-potty where it’s hard to see your urine color in the toilet bowl, you can count how many times each day that you have to use the restroom.

If you’re urinating at least 7 times per day, you’re hydrated. Any less than 5 times per day and you’re likely dehydrated. This would mean that you’re urinating at least once every 2 hours or so.

Glass of water

Three tricks to increase your water absorption:

  1. Lightly salting your foods (especially during the first two weeks you’re working in the heat) can help your body to absorb more water.
  2. Drinking fluids with electrolytes (especially sodium) will help to absorb the water you drink. Just watch those sugars in the drinks- you don’t need them!
  3. Your body can only absorb water at a certain speed… what that means is that you need to pace yourself in drinking the water back after working hard in the heat. You can’t just “chug” a bunch of water at the end of the work day— you will just urinate it out.

Rule of thumb: your body can absorb ~8 oz. (half of a water bottle) every 15 minutes, so try to pace your water drinking to that rate.

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REFERENCES:

  • Armstrong, Lawrence E., et al. “Urinary indices of hydration status.” International journal of sport nutrition 4.3 (1994): 265-279.
  • Kenefick, Robert W., et al. “Quantification of chromatographic effects of vitamin B supplementation in urine and implications for hydration assessment.” Journal of Applied Physiology 119.2 (2015): 110-115.
  • Burchfield, J. M., et al. “24-h Void number as an indicator of hydration status.”European journal of clinical nutrition 69.5 (2015): 638-641.
  • Tucker, M. A., et al. “Reliability of 24-h void frequency as an index of hydration status when euhydrated and hypohydrated.” European journal of clinical nutrition (2016).
  • Ely, Brett R., et al. “Hypohydration and acute thermal stress affect mood state but not cognition or dynamic postural balance.” European journal of applied physiology 113.4 (2013): 1027-1034.
  • Armstrong, Lawrence E., et al. “Mild dehydration affects mood in healthy young women.” The Journal of nutrition 142.2 (2012): 382-388.
  • Shirreffs, Susan Margaret, et al. “Post-exercise rehydration in man: effects of volume consumed and drink sodium content.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 28.10 (1996): 1260-1271.
  • Bain AR, Lesperance NC, Jay O. Body heat storage during physical activity is lower with hot fluid ingestion under conditions that permit full evaporation. Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2012;206(2): 98–108.
INTRODUCING KENZEN’S NEW HEAT SAFETY PROGRAM FOR YOUR WORKSITE

INTRODUCING KENZEN’S NEW HEAT SAFETY PROGRAM FOR YOUR WORKSITE

Despite the fact that heat-related injuries and illnesses (including heat stroke) are 100% preventable, the incidence of heat-related injuries and illnesses continues to rise each year. The heat-related death rates of crop workers is 19 times higher than that of all U.S. civilian workers!

Why? Because most worksites do not have any heat-education safety training for their employees or proper emergency cooling set-up in place to save workers’ lives.

A study of OSHA citations issued between 2012 and 2013 revealed 20 cases of heat-related illness or death of workers [Arbury et al. 2014]. In most of these cases, employers had no program to prevent heat illness, or programs were deficient; and acclimatization was the program element most commonly missing and most clearly associated with worker death. 

Kenzen is here to help with the launch of our worksite Heat Safety Program.

Worker on the job in hot sunlight

KENZEN WILL COME TO YOUR WORKSITE TO PROVIDE:

  • Heat education & safety training to all employees

  • Emergency cooling training

  • The equipment necessary to employ emergency cooling

  • Workplace assessments to recommend specific work/rest schedules for your workers

  • Individualized hydration plans for any workers at your site (to prevent the added stress of dehydration)

  • Heat acclimatization prescriptions for workers

This comprehensive package will ensure that your employees understand the signs & symptoms of heat injury & illness, what to do in an emergency situation, how much water to drink to stay hydrated, and how to balance work/rest schedules for optimal performance and productivity.

Let Kenzen help you keep your employees safe- remember: heat-related injuries and deaths are 100% preventable.

Start now & get more information here.

Reference: Jacklitsch, B., Williams, W. J., Musolin, K., Coca, A. P., Kim, J. H. P., & Turner, N. P. (2016). Occupational exposure to heat and hot environments. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

WHY DOES WORKING IN THE HEAT FEEL HARDER AFTER THE HOLIDAYS, BEING SICK, OR GOING ON VACATION?

WHY DOES WORKING IN THE HEAT FEEL HARDER AFTER THE HOLIDAYS, BEING SICK, OR GOING ON VACATION?

Have you ever wondered why you might be more sluggish, tired, or unable to complete as much work after time away from work, like during Thanksgiving break? It might not just be the turkey!

Thanksgivnig Turkey

If you are someone who consistently works in heat, then you have likely become acclimatized, or adapted, to the heat. This process normally takes at least 5 days of working in the heat (but can take up to two weeks). After the acclimatization period, your body is “primed” for work in the heat. What this means is that physiological changes in your body (heart rate, core temperature, sweat rate, etc) make you better handle being in the heat. This means that your work will probably feel easier and you might be more productive at work after you acclimatize to the heat. You might also feel more comfortable working in those hotter temperatures. This is all great (and necessary) for you to successfully work in the heat!

But what happens when you take a few days off from working in the heat?

Does your body keep all of those adaptations? In short, it depends. Research has shown that for each day that you are not working in the heat, you will lose your adaptations in heart rate and core body temperature at a rate of 2.5%.

Example: if your heart rate at work (in the heat) was typically 110 beats per minute (bpm), you can expect it to go up by ~3 bpm per day that you are not in the heat. So after spending the weekend out of the heat, your heart rate might be 113-116 bpm for that same amount of work the following Monday.

Worker in heat
So, if you take 3-5 days off for the Thanksgiving holiday, it would not be surprising if your work in the heat felt harder the following Monday, and your heart rate and core temperature were slightly higher than the week before.

If you are not in the heat for 5+ days…

You will lose a large amount of your heat adaptations in heart rate, core temperature and sweating. So if you go on vacation, get sick, or work outside where you are exposed to different temperatures as the seasons change (e.g. colder temperatures in winter vs. summer), then you will probably lose a lot of the adaptations you had to heat, and will need to ease back into working in the heat when you get back.

The good news

Your body is very adaptive, and so the re-acclimatization process (i.e., the second or third time that you acclimatize to the heat) is much faster than the first time that you acclimatize to the heat. You can re-acclimatize in just 2-3 days! But during those first few days back, make sure to pay attention to any signs and symptoms of heat injury and illness, take multiple breaks in a cool place, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Even better news…

People who are frequently exposed to the heat (long durations of work in the heat) will lose these adaptations (in heart rate, core temperature, and sweating) much more slowly— after 1-2 weeks— and so a few days away from the heat might not impact your work efforts as much. But if you have any sort of extended time away (more than 1 week) from the heat, you should ease back into your workload, and take it slowly for the first few days to give your body time to adjust.

For the worksite safety managers:

Be aware that your employees who may have been away from the heat for more than 5 days (due to injury, sickness, vacation, etc..), might need a few days to re-acclimatize to the heat. So make sure to let them slowly work their way back up to their full workload over those first 2-3 days in the heat, let them take plenty of breaks, and watch them for any signs or symptoms of heat injury and/or illness. Most heat-related injuries/illnesses happen in the first few days of working in the heat when workers are not yet acclimatized; so take heed and protect your workers appropriately by letting them ramp back up to their full workload.Want help with heat acclimatization or re-acclimatization prescriptions and guidance? Kenzen offers on-site consulting services specific to your site and workers, along with an interactive, on-site heat-safety training!

Check out our other blog posts for more info on how your body responds to the heat!

BEWARE OF DRIPPING SWEAT!

BEWARE OF DRIPPING SWEAT!

worker sweating

Sweating is the primary way that we cool ourselves off when our temperature starts to get too high.

But if your sweat isn’t evaporating or being wicked away (and is just dripping off of you), then it’s not actually cooling you down. Your body temperature will continue to increase – now much faster – and you won’t be able to work as long.

This is often why working in a hot AND humid environment feels a lot worse than in a hot-dry environment. Aside from being harder to cool your body down, your sweat does not evaporate as well in a humid environment. Sweat begins dripping off of you because the surrounding air molecules simply can’t hold any more water.

Heavy uniforms (like PPE) also prevent sweat from evaporating. Because you are unable to cool down, your body temperature will continue to rise. And, your body temperature will rise at an even faster rate when wearing heavy PPE.

5 Tips to Stay Cool on the Job

  1. Use an electric fan to stay cool and help the sweat evaporate
  2. Towel your skin dry as much as possible. Or, consider wiping your sweat off and away from your body. Pooled, or dripping sweat left on your body can actually decrease your sweat rate and cause you to overheat during work!
  3. Take frequent breaks and seek shade or covered areas.
  4. If possible, remove any extra clothing/uniform that may be preventing the sweat from evaporating during rest breaks.
  5. Drink plenty of pure water to replace the sweat (water) you’re losing from your body.

If you’d like the Kenzen team to help train your workforce on the importance of heat safety, schedule an on-site OSHA heat safety training session and gain early access to Kenzen Patch.

Learn more here »