|Category:||Helpful Tips and Ideas|
|Tags:||dehydration, driver, employees, heat, humidity, hydration, safety, summer, UPSers, water|
Summer has delivered its annual blend of heat and humidity to most parts of the U.S. For UPS drivers – who spend most of their working hours outside – staying safe during hot weather is crucial.
Here at UPS, we take a comprehensive approach to safety and wellness with hydration as a key element. In fact, our hydration program is a year-round effort that includes a hydration self-check card. According to UPS Occupational Health Manager Janice Hartgens, “Hydration is fundamental to our safety process. We would like our employees and their families to develop hydration habits that become second nature.”
So what are the best practices that UPS employees follow? And how are they useful to others? Read on.
Drink water throughout the day
You’ve probably heard the old adage “drink 8 glasses of water a day.” Well, it’s a good practice to follow. At UPS, we recommend our employees drink 8 to 10 servings of water a day. And it’s important to stay hydrated even if you’re not thirsty. By the time you start feeling thirsty, you are already starting to get dehydrated.
Avoid drinks high in sugar and/or caffeine (e.g. energy drinks)
Caffeine and sugar pull fluid from your body, which contributes to dehydration and impairs the body’s ability to sweat.
Eat light meals and choose foods high in water content
Hot foods and heavy meals can slow the body down, making you feel lethargic. Foods high in sugar and salt contribute to dehydration. Instead, choose fruits and vegetables, which naturally have high water content.
Wear lightweight, loose clothing
Loose-fitting clothing can help keep your body cooler and helps the body lose less fluid through sweating. And don’t forget the sunscreen. Keep your skin protected when you’re spending time outside.
Know which medications can trigger dehydration
Believe it or not, some medications and supplements can affect your hydration levels. Allergy and asthma drugs, laxatives and supplements like ephedrine and stimulants can cause dehydration. Check with your physician for information and guidance.
Stay alert to signs of heat-related illness
Symptoms can range from tiny blister-like spots known as heat rash to more serious signs such as nausea and headache, which can indicate heat exhaustion. Ignoring the symptoms can lead to heat stroke, a potentially deadly condition. The CDC provides a list of symptoms on heat-related illness at its web site.