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10 Tips for Staying Cool While Working in the Heat

Academy Staff
6 min read
Working in the Heat
Some jobs stop for nothing – especially not for a little heat. But when a little heat turns into high heat, high humidity, and working up against prolonged sun exposure, hot work environments can prove to be extremely dangerous!
Workers who face these conditions such as firefighters, bakers and chefs, farmers, construction workers, miners, farm and ranch workers, factory workers and numerous others can be placed at risk of suffering from heat cramps, heat stress symptoms or even potentially fatal heat strokes.
Yet, there are ways to ensure that you’re working in the heat safely, even when the conditions feel too hot to handle. Let’s explore heat-related illnesses, how to identify and prevent them, and 10 safety tips for staying cool as your job site heats up.
Heat Stress Symptoms

Most of us find ourselves extremely happy to get out and enjoy the warmth of the sun and the brightness of the day. Yet, when we are working long hours during a scorcher, we may not find ourselves so easily contented with the sunshine.

Prolonged heat exposure that leads to heat stress and similar heat-related illnesses cause workers in these harsh conditions to suffer from hot, dry skin, profuse sweating, highly elevated body temperature, headaches, cramps, nausea, dizziness, weakness, irritability, dehydration, heat rashes, confusion, altered mental statuses, slurred speech, comas, seizures and occasionally worse.
Yet, working on hot days does not have to mean that you must become a victim to these negative conditions. There are many safe and effective methods and measures that you can take to prevent and reduce stress caused by heat, high humidity, and extended time under the sun.
10 Tips for Staying Cool While Working in the Heat

1. Stay Hydrated
Drinking small amounts of water about every 15 minutes can help you stay cool and avoid heat exhaustion. Academy Sports + Outdoors offers a wide selection of hydration packs to help with maintaining hydration. Feeling thirsty? Pick up some bottled water and sports drinks for when you need hydration throughout the day.
Energy drinks with 6 to 8% carbohydrates provide similar amounts of salt and sugar that our blood and body need to continue doing its job effectively and efficiently. If you want to increase the nutrition factor of your drinks, reach for electrolyte tablets to mix into your bottled water or water bottles from home.
2. Protect your Skin from Harmful UV Rays
Wear loose-fitting clothing and light colors with moisture-wicking, water-resistant capabilities. Ventilation and UPF sun protection are ideal for keeping your skin safe as you take on hot days at the job site.
Clothing items such as wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, breathable, long pants, or sun protection shirts, like the new Carhartt Men’s Force Relaxed Short Sleeve T-shirt are not only stylish and durable but ready to keep you cool once your workload heats up.
3. Avoid Caffeine and Alcoholic Beverages
Drinks with caffeine, such as coffee or soda and alcoholic beverages are not ideal for hydration purposes. Often these drink types have the opposite effect and tend to promote dehydration.
4. Eat Light, Chilled Foods
Try not to reach for soups, teas or heavy meat and cooked meals when it is hot outside. Instead, opt for lighter summer fare and frequent snacks consisting of cold fruits and vegetables or low-fat dairy products.
5. Take A Break
The workday requires your efforts in to get things done and sometimes we’re too hard ourselves for slowing down or taking breaks from the grind. However, the fact remains that taking breaks from the heat is important for operational safety and success.
Academy’s large assortment of easy set-up canopies provide much-needed shade and rest so that you not only get the job done, but that you get it done safely as well.
6. Use Sunscreen
To keep UV rays from harming your skin you should make sure to always keep sunscreen on hand. Look for ones that are SPF 30-rated or higher. The aforementioned clothing with UPF blockers is also ideal for wear to keep your skin protected from sunburn after prolonged sun exposure.
7. Chill Your Personal Items
Using cold packs, ice packs, cooling towels, or chilled rags can have a rapid cooling effect to help regulate your body temperature and reduce stress from the blistering heat.
8. Carry Portable Cooling Devices
Bringing fans and cooling devices (if permitted and safe to do so) to the job site are also great ways to keep yourself and others safe. It’s also recommended to bring along spray bottles that you can store in portable coolers for yourself or for co-workers to use in case of an emergency.
9. Get Acclimated
In extremely hot weather conditions, do not immediately go full throttle. Start off slow, pace yourself and when you seem to have reached a nice rhythm check in with yourself from time to time to make sure that you still feel reasonably comfortable and safe. Overexerting in the heat can lead to dangerous – and potentially life-threatening – situations.
10. Have an Emergency Action Plan
In the event you or someone you work with is unable to prevent heat-related illness on the job, always have a safe and effective emergency plan ready to go or work with supervisors and leadership to plan an effective one.
The symptoms associated with heat-related illnesses can often be dismissed by those who are experiencing them, so it is important to take proactive measures to protect ourselves and others when these symptoms first appear. Prevention is the most desirable method of protection, but make sure that you and your team know where to go and what the proper workplace procedures are when heat-related illnesses and their symptoms occur.
What are the symptoms of heat stress? Look out for fellow co-workers who appear to not be sweating or who appear to be sweating abnormally as these are common heat stress symptoms. Make sure that your employees take frequent shade, hydration, or snack breaks according to your personal and occupational safety and health standards.
Encourage all your employees, especially those at high risk of heat stress and heat stroke such as those who are 65 years of age or older, overweight, have been diagnosed with heart disease or high blood pressure, or who take medications to take extra cautions for heat stress prevention.
Working outdoors or indoors in hot conditions doesn’t need to lead to feeling overwhelmed! Working in the heat can be safe and efficient when a person takes the proper steps to stay cool and hydrated while keeping a watchful eye out for heat stress warning signs.

Find the best workwear clothing to beat the heat at Academy Sports + Outdoors – shop online and in-store.