Aug 2, 2011

Tips for Keeping Cool when Working in the Summer Heat

We are now experts at working outside in the heat of the summer thanks to our patio project.  We worked under the blazing sun, in full humidity and blistering temperatures in the 90s.   And we are still alive to tell the tale (take that heat stroke!), so we thought we would share our survival tips/lessons learned.

1.  Hydrate.  This is the most important one by far.  You must compensate for the sweaty mess you quickly become.  Bring a pitcher of water with lots of ice outside and some glasses and keep it nearby.  You’re much more likely to take a quick water break if it’s right there.  Skip the iced tea and coffee - diuretics will only make it worse and you’ll shrivel up into a prune.

2.  Wear light colors and shorts.  Black absorbs heat.  White reflects it.   No matter how much you dislike your legs being bitten by hungry mosquitoes - black yoga pants, even ones with moisture-wicking technology, are like wearing an electric blanket.  Shorts at least let your legs catch the breeze.  If you can stand wearing a hat, shading your face is also a good idea.

3.  Get wet. Sit in a baby pool.   Play in the sprinkler. Who cares if the neighbors are judging you?!  Every hour or so, we played “spray me with the hose” where we soaked each other.  Not only was it a great way to work out any frustrations, it really helped us keep cool and made working in the sun much more bearable.

4.  Sunscreen.   This doesn’t actually keep you cool, but it’s very important.  We love the spray ones that take seconds to reapply.  And you have to reapply every time you get wet with the hose if you don’t want to burn.  Waterproof/sweatproof is a lie.

5.  Take a break. Go inside and stand in front of the air conditioner once in a while until your core body temperature drops back down.  This is especially important if you feel dizzy or nauseous at any time.  Drink a glass of ice water while you’re at it.  Don’t you have any Popsicles?

Additional ideas include only working in the morning and evening when the temperatures are cooler, but when you’re in a time crunch that’s not always an option.   Also working in shade whenever possible is a good idea, unless your backyard is 90% sun like ours.

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