Temperatures are steadily rising, and—for those of us who work outside—that means having to find creative ways to avoid sunburn, heat stroke, dehydration, and other hot-weather ailments. Before you go out to work in the garden or complete landscaping projects, remember to follow these tips that will help you stay cool and safe through the dog days of summer:
Get Out Early
If you have particularly strenuous work to do, make sure you start it early in the morning while the sun is still low and temperatures are relatively cool. As the sun rises, try to find shady places to do your most back-breaking projects. Direct sunlight can quickly become a hazard, causing dehydration, sunburn, and other heat-related problems.
Cool Yourself Off Regularly
A small spray bottle or bucket of ice water goes a long way in the summer heat. Spraying hands, feet, and the back of your neck will provide instant cooling relief. Splashing ice water over your face or dipping your bare feet in an ice bucket has a similar effect (and it’ll wake you up!)
In the midst of a heat wave, your body needs much more water than you realize (especially if you’re working out). Though the typical adult might drink eight to ten cups of water a day, an adult working outside in the summer heat should ideally double that amount to 18-20 cups. You should be drinking water throughout the day and watching carefully for signs of dehydration such as a dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, or cramps. When braving the heat, avoid dehydrating drinks like alcohol, coffee, and sugary soda.
Wear Sun-blocking Clothing and Sunscreen
Though putting on a long sleeve t-shirt in the middle of July may seem antithetical to staying cool, wearing loose-fitting and lightweight airy clothing that covers your arms and legs can keep you cool and prevent sunburn. Wide-brimmed hats and regular applications of SPF 15+ sunscreen (every few hours) are also essential to skin health in summer.
Create Wind and Shade
When shaded spaces and breezy gusts are in short supply, you should try and create your own. Set up a fan by your work station to ensure you’re getting a steady supply of circulating hair. Put up tarps and tents to create shaded spots where you and your crew can take breaks and cool down. Make sure everyone is wearing hats, bandanas, or sunglasses that will keep the sun out of their eyes. Direct sunlight can cause irreparable eye damage.
Take Plenty of Breaks
Ultimately, your safety and welfare is more important than swiftly completing your project. Be sure you and your crew are able to take plenty of breaks during hot, dry weather. Take breaks in well-shaded areas and drink plenty of water during downtime.