Heat Warning for the Midwest

With a lot of the Midwest experiencing extreme temperatures this week I thought I’d post an article with some reminders on staying safe in the heat. Realistically, with how far behind a lot of us are on hay, not working during the day isn’t an option. Just make sure you’re taking extra precautions in the extreme hot weather! Here is an article from OSHA that covers the basics of preventing and treating heat-related illnesses:

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatstress/

I’d also like to share a few things that have helped me keep working in extreme heat:

-Small ice packs that you can put in your pocket are amazing! A few months ago they were handing out little 4″x4″ ice packs with the College of Public Health’s logo on them at a student event and I took a ton of them and have been sticking them in my pockets on hot days. They only take an hour or so to get warm, so I’ve been putting a bunch of them in an insulated lunch box and switch to a new pair between loads. You can find mini ice packs on pretty much any online shopping platform for less than $1, so it’s pretty easy to get a bunch of them. If it’s your turn to drive, frozen water bottles or larger ice packs provide even better cooling.

-Another thing I do that seems to help a lot is to wear a damp bandana on my head while I’m working, and periodically putting more cool water on it. You loose more heat through your head than you do through other parts of your body and if you can keep your head cool it can help you feel more comfortable.

-Wearing lighter weight fabrics makes a big difference for me. I go to goodwill and find the lightest weight khaki pants I can buy, and end up feeling about 10 degrees cooler in them vs wearing jeans. The downside is the lighter weight materials wear through more quickly, but if you can find them for cheap at a secondhand store and strategically save them for when it’s super hot it can be a workable system.

-Mixing plain water and drinks that restore electrolytes seems to work better than plain water alone. When you sweat, your body looses electrolytes too which can make you feel drained, and can cause more significant health problems if you loose enough of them. For me, having every 3rd or 4th drink be something with an electrolyte in it seems to work well, but different ratios work better for different people.

Stay cool out there this week!