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Staying hydrated when the heat is on!

Summer’s here! Time to put a deck on the back of the house. Or finally build that new addition, complete with bathroom, great room and extended garage. Why not throw in a mudroom while you’re at it? Sounds cool right? Only if you don’t overheat while you’re doing it.

Summer renovations are hot! Literally. I’ve worked on projects all the way from -20 degree Minnesota winters to 118 degree Las Vegas summers.That’s a 138 degree difference! Temperature is a big deal when you’re working, so you have to plan accordingly.

Start early

Planning construction projects in advance is the key to success in any season.During the summer, the earlier the start-time the better.A seven or eight o’clock start works great during the winter and fall months, but beginning an hour or two earlier during the summer will be appreciated when you have a sweltering hot afternoon forecast.Plan your major projects for first thing in the morning, before the sun starts taking full effect. Then, punch out early, relax and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

Hydration

Hydration is another key ingredient to healthy summer work. Set up water stations on your work site, and keep nutrition bars and sports drinks close at hand. Fruits and veggies are great, too. Did you know that broccoli is over 90% water? So are cantaloupe, spinach, watermelon and many other fruits and vegetables. Try mixing up a great big salad with both fruits and vegetables and enjoy it on your lunch break. It’ll keep you hydrated and healthy.

Dress the part

You also need to combat the heat by dressing the part from head to toe. Wear a hat with a brim that’s wide enough to keep your head and face protected from the sun. Cover up with light-weight, loose fitting, light coloured clothing. Choose moisture-wicking fabrics and give your body enough space to breathe – dress comfortably but safe. Cool shades designed for sun protection are great for the eyes. The right gear will help you beat the heat.

Take a load off!

When the projects are hot and you’re really getting into it, remember to give your body periodic breaks during the workday. Find some shade, a fan or, better yet, some AC. A cool beverage and piece of fruit will keep the body charged up. Plus, know the symptoms of heat stroke: throbbing headache, dizziness and, believe it or not, not sweating are all symptoms. Shortness of breath, confusion and even unconsciousness are also signs. If you notice any signs of heat stroke in yourself, or anyone else, call 911 immediately and start first aid. (While you wait for emergency help, the Mayo clinic says you should take basic measures like moving the person to the shade or an air-conditioned room, cooling them with damp cloths, letting them drink small amounts of water, if they are able.) But with good planning, hydration and proper breaks – it shouldn’t come to that.

Let’s knock those projects out this summer! But be cool about it. Stay hydrated, eat smart, dress the part, work safe.Cool building, Baby!

-by James Young