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Is dehydration putting you at unreasonable risk at work?

The warmth of summer is one of its major delights -- but it's also a serious problem for many people who are obligated to work outdoors. The heat of summer can lead to assorted health problems -- most of which start with dehydration.

What you need to know about dehydration and fluid intake

If you work outdoors in the summer for your construction or landscaping job (or in any other industry), here are the things you need to keep in mind:

  1. Sunscreen is valuable -- but it pales in comparison to the need to keep hydrated.
  2. Coffee and tea are not adequate substitutes for water. They're actually diuretics, which means they can cause you to lose more fluid than you're taking in.
  3. High-protein drinks and alcoholic beverages are also dehydrating.

The only good substitutes for water are fruit juices and sports drinks that contain electrolytes. It's also much more important to sip water gradually throughout the day -- rather than gulping down a large amount of water all at once when you've nearly reached your breaking point. Your body is constantly sweating out fluid in order to cool itself -- so you need to constantly replenish those fluids as you go.

Some people are more at risk than others of dehydration

The people most at risk of dehydration in the summer are:

  • People with medical concerns, particularly diabetics
  • Children who are playing outside in the high heat
  • Workers who have not had adequate time to adjust to a heat wave, are new, lack adequate shade or relief and don't have enough water intake

Know the signs of dehydration and danger

Some of the signs of serious dehydration include:

  • Headaches
  • Dry skin
  • Feeling tired, dizzy or disoriented
  • Decreased urine output and dark, yellow urine

Dehydration, left untreated, can lead to low blood pressure, a rapid heartbeat, fainting and heart failure. At times, victims pass out so quickly that they're unable to call for help and have been found by co-workers or passers-by.

If your employer ignored safety concerns related to the heat and dehydration, don't assume that you aren't entitled to compensation. Find out more about your legal options today.

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Wieland & DeLattre
226 Hillcrest St.
P.O. Box 944
Orlando, FL 32802

Phone: 407-841-7699
Phone: 321-639-4777
Fax: 407-841-2084
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