Keywords: summer temperatures, hydration
For most of the building trades, the majority of work happens outside or in unairconditioned buildings. The average daytime high temperatures exceed 100 degrees from mid-May to mid-October. It’s critically important that our crews are prepared to not just survive the summer heat, but to stay strong and healthy. Here are a few tips from the MTS painters for the times you have to be out in the heat:
- Build up to the heat, don’t hide away in the air-conditioning too much. Learn to allow sweat. A breeze or movement will cool the moisture on you.
- Drink lots of water. The general rule we coach is to drink enough water to urinate about every 1.5 hours.
- Each of our trucks is conveniently equipped with a five-gallon water cooler. They are topped each day with water and ice. Sanitation of the water jugs is important, too.
- Use electrolytes. We provide three types for our crew. The first is Gatorade. Second is Hydro Mate, an electrolyte powder that can be added to water. The third is Sqwincher Sqweeze, an electrolyte freezer pop.
- Wear a wide brim hat. Keep the sun off your head and neck.
- Don’t overeat. Sugars and minerals can be wise to replenish, especially with fruits and vegetables.
- Bananas or other sources of potassium will help with cramping.
- The crew is split on this one. Some prefer a short sleeve shirt because it’s cooler. The others prefer long sleeve shirts because they protect the arms from UV radiation.
- Also, some like cotton shirts, and some the moisture wicking hybrid shirts.
- Finally, if you feel any symptoms of dehydration, get out of the heat. There was a worker who had recently moved to Phoenix from Denver, experiencing his first summer in the desert heat. One day, he started getting dizzy and confused. I told him to hand me his wallet. And then I pushed him into the swimming pool. He cooled down really fast which avoided a medical emergency.
Be smart, be prepared and you can make the most of the long summer days.