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How to stay cool in hot weather while working outside

Summer is almost here and all of us are planning ways on how to beat the heat.

Air conditioners are being bought and serviced, wardrobes are being updated, recipes for summer drinks are being shared, and general advice about staying indoors and away from the heat is being handed out.

But what about those people whose jobs do not allow them to stay indoors, those who do not have access to air-conditioned offices and homes?

I am talking about construction workers and all those people who continue to work outdoors in the scorching heat.

These people hardly get any shade and their work is very strenuous. Therefore, they need to properly equip themselves against the heat. Extreme amounts of exposure to heat are not only uncomfortable but it can cause heat strokes, heat exhaustion, and sunburns.

Hence, you’ll find 10 ways to beat the heat in the summer for construction workers.


Our Favorite Amazon Gear to Beat The Heat!

1.      Lightweight and light-colored clothing:


The material of your clothing is very important. Cotton is NOT the best material you can wear at high temperatures.

This is because it absorbs sweat rapidly and keeps moisture against your body which increases the body temperature.  The material recommended is called ‘moisture – wicking’ fabric.

This fabric is special because it pulls moisture away from the body to the top layer of the shirt so that it can evaporate away. The weave of the material is also very porous, letting air pass through.

Clothes made out of this fabric are easily available at athletic stores. Furthermore, your clothing should be light-colored, to reflect sunlight, loose and long sleeved to shield you from the sun.


2.      Cover Your Head:

You should keep your head covered using a wide-brimmed hat, a peak cap or a bandanna that keeps your head covered from direct sunlight.

Headgear made of polyester is preferred as it helps wick away moisture. A great hat to purchase is the Columbia Full Brim Hat.

If you are on a commercial job site that requires a hard at, a good choice to help you block out the sun and keep it off your neck would be a Hard Hat Shade from Amazon. These just attach to your hard hat for a quick easy shade.


3.      Personal cooling devices:

There are many small cooling devices on the market that are extremely portable and practical to use and they help lower your body temperature. Here is a list of a few on Amazon:

i.        Evaporative cooling bandanas:

These bandanas can be worn anytime and anywhere. All you have to do is keep them in cold water for only a minute and then you can wear it on your forehead. This immediately cools you down and reduces the chances of heat stroke.

ii.      Cooling Towels:

These towels are made of specialized fabrics that can remain wet for several hours. Wearing them around your neck can help in keeping the body temperature down during summer.

iii.    Portable Fans and Air Conditioners:

These are very helpful gadgets that are individual and can be held in the hand. They are good at helping against hot dry air because they have a filter that can be filled with cold water which assists the fan in spreading cold, moist air. These portable fans and air conditioners work using AA batteries or by connecting them to a USB port. This makes them extremely convenient.

iv.     Cooling Vests:

This is the most efficient of the options as it is an insulated vest that you can soak in water for 2 -5 minutes to activate. It remains cold for four to five hours. This is very beneficial for construction workers, farmers and others who have to work in high temperatures without shade.


4.      Stay Hydrated With these Hacks :

Staying hydrated is one of the most important ways of preventing a heat stroke. Loss of water in the body can make you nausea, vomit, or may even cause fainting. To help prevent all of this, nutritionists suggest that people should stay hydrated in advance by drinking enough water every day leading up to the day you spend working outside. While working outside you should be taking breaks every half an hour and drinking water during those breaks.

Most people do not like drinking water but you can make a few recipes for drinks that contain electrolytes to help keep yourself hydrated throughout the day without letting your sugar levels run low. Here are a few recipes to try:

i.        Watermelon Lemonade:

Watermelons are high in water content and are very refreshing to have in the summer. So we have the perfect recipe that is everyone’s go-to summer drink. Squeeze half a cup of watermelon juice, a lemon and add some sugar (according to your taste) and three-quarters of a cup of water. Pour it into a thermos and fill with ice.

ii.      Honey Ginger Lemonade:

This is not only a naturally refreshing drink but it is also very healthy. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and adds a lot of flavor to lemonade. This drink helps rehydrate and refresh after long hours of working in the sun. The recipe is very easy to make. All you have to do is boil honey and ginger, let it cool, strain it and add it to your lemonade. Do NOT stir. The medicinal properties of the ingredients when added to the lemonade produces a calming, relaxing and hydrating drink.

iii.    Mint Lemonade:

Mint is also a natural herb that keeps the body fresh and calm. So put one tablespoon of crushed mint leaves into your lemonade, add lots of ice and drink it to cool your body down instantly!

iv.     Infused Water:

This is a solution for people who do not want to spend time putting together a drink but just want an extremely healthy and nutritious solution to stay hydrated. Infused water can be used to naturally detox the body by adding different ingredients. It has less sugar content as compared to most drinks but it takes some time to make. To make flavors that are properly infused into the water, you must leave it for at least 3 to 4 hours.

These flavors can be almost anything: natural herbs like rosemary and grapefruit zest, pineapple, lemon, and ginger, coconut and there are many other flavors infused water combinations that dieticians suggest. Infused water may take time but you can make it and put it in a refrigerator overnight so that it is ready for you to take to work in the morning.


5.      Food to Help Beat The Heat

The food that you eat during the summer plays a vital role in keeping your hypothalamus (the part of the brain that controls heat, hunger, and thirst) functioning properly. The hypothalamus should function properly in order to prevent heat exhaustion.

Foods that contain essential fatty acids include leafy green salads, cucumbers (Remember the phrase ‘As cool as a cucumber’? Is actually true!), carrots, seafood and more.

Soups and broths that contain water should be preferred over stews. Fruits with high moisture content, for example, watermelons, apples, and oranges should be consumed to keep yourself hydrated. Yogurt helps in keeping a person hydrated, because of its high water content as well as the essential fatty acids it contains. It helps in hydration so much so that it does not let your throat get parched even when you don’t drink water for a long time. Moreover, it is a very good guard against heat strokes.

Please keep in mind, caffeine, chocolate or alcohol acts as a diuretic, this means that it causes your body to urinate which leads to the loss of fluids in the body.


6.      Sunscreens to Protect Your Skin:

Direct sunlight can cause skin burns, tanning, and really long exposures can even cause various skin diseases including skin cancer. This can be prevented by applying sunscreen to your body. Selecting the correct sunscreen is extremely important. You need to be sure of the SPF level of your sunscreen. Please consult a dermatologist to recommend the perfect sunscreen for your skin type so that no allergic reactions occur.


7.      Cooling gels and Skincare:

Another very good way to keep the skin cool and fresh is Aloe Vera Gel. It is extremely good for skin care as it revitalizes the skin. Moreover, it has soothing qualities that help heal sunburns, removes sunspots (hyperpigmentation on the skin) and helps moisturize the skin. Other cooling agents include mint lotions, cucumber gels, and body washes, coconut oil etc.


8.      Body Mists:

Many companies have come up with body mists that have SPF values and keep the body cool and fragrant. You do not have to worry about unpleasant body odor and can also prevent yourself from the adverse effects of direct sunlight.


9.      Do – it – yourself ice boxes:

Not everyone working outside has access to an electrical power outlet so we are giving you a solution for it. Go old-school and fill up a closed box made of an insulating material (for example thermocol sheets) with ice blocks and put your drinks inside to keep them cool.

We are also mentioning a DIY way to make an air conditioner if an electrical power outlet is available. Simply take a large tub of cold water (you might want to put ice in it) and keep it right at the back of a pedestal fan. Turn the fan on and experience the fan throwing in ice cold air from the tub. Your own low maintenance, personal air conditioner is ready!

Watch this Youtube Video to learn how to make your own DIY Ice Box.


10. Little hacks to keep yourself cool:

  • Some small useful hacks to keep yourself cool include soaking your shirt or socks in water and wearing them. The cooling effect that is a result of the evaporation of water from these wet pieces of clothing helps in keeping the temperature of the body low.


  • Another hack is to wet your hair and to let it air dry slowly. This works on the same principle of evaporation as the previous tip that we mentioned. There are also some areas of the body that instantly cool your body down if you wet them, such as the back of your knees, back of your neck, wrists, and temples.


  • Another way is breathing into an ice cup to cool your body temperature. Hold a cup of ice in front of your mouth and breathe deeply. This drives cold air into your lungs and lowers your body temperature. Other little tips include eating many small sized meals throughout the day. This limits metabolic processes that generate heat in your body.


  • One effective way to make your surrounding temperature a bit more bearable is by hosing the floor with water. This helps the heated up floor to lose some heat as the water evaporates. If this is possible to do it will keep the environment temperature slightly lower and will make it slightly easier to work.


Over Heating and Heat Stroke Warning Signs:

A heat stroke is caused when the hypothalamus does not function properly and the body stops sweating, which traps the heat inside the body. If you observe any of these signs in either yourself or in any of your colleagues please take them to the hospital immediately.

All of these methods we have listed will help in surviving the high temperatures that people working outdoors have to bear. You should still keep an eye out for symptoms of a heat stroke. It is always good to be cautious. The most common symptoms of a heat stroke include:

  • An elevated pulse rate
  • No sweat
  • Individual feeling cold
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Trouble while speaking
  • Severe headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Dry, arid skin

Heat exhaustion, heat strokes, sunburns, skin diseases, skin cancer are all consequences of long exposure to high temperatures. All of these can be prevented by staying hydrated by drinking lots of water, eating small healthy portions throughout the day, eating cold food like ice creams and yogurt, wearing light-colored clothing because dark clothing absorbs ultraviolet radiation, wearing sunglasses, hats and keeping yourself covered from ultraviolet rays.


Wrap up

Read, understand, practice and incorporate these helpful tips into your lifestyle and recommend this list to your family and friends so that they too can benefit from our research. Nobody wants to be unproductive in the summer and get sick. Remember, prevention is better than cure.

Have a wonderful summer and don’t forget to stay hydrated.