Safety Tips for Working Outside in the Heat

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High temperatures can make outdoor work very dangerous. Heat exhaustion and dehydration may lead to life-threatening conditions, including heat stroke.

To keep yourself safe, experts recommend extra precautions once the temperature reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius). At this temperature, the CDC says people should engage in moderate-intensity work for 45 minutes, then take a break for 15 minutes. The break-to-work ratio increases as temperatures and work intensity rise.

But those are just general guidelines. You may need to take extra precautions depending on humidity levels, the intensity of the job, and your personal fitness. People with certain health conditions should also consider extra safety measures after consulting a medical professional.

Staying Cool and Hydrated

Beyond taking breaks, there are a few key ways to protect yourself when it’s hot. It’s all about staying cool and drinking plenty of water.

Wear cooling fabrics

Thick, dark-colored fabrics retain heat. Instead, wear light-colored fabrics with space for air to flow through. Cotton is a good option since it’s naturally breathable, but it tends to get easily saturated with sweat. Opting for specialized moisture-wicking fabrics can keep you cool and dry.

Choose loose-fitting clothes

Loose clothes leave space for airflow, a key part of staying cool. Avoid fitted pants and shirts, and look for ventilation systems around sweaty areas like the underarms.

Stay hydrated throughout the day

As a general rule, the CDC recommends drinking 8 ounces of water every 15-20 minutes while working in hot environments. Experts say drinking small amounts frequently is better than large amounts infrequently, so avoid long periods without water.

Talk to your doctor

Ultimately, you should always talk to your doctor to plan the safest way to work in the heat. Hydration and break needs vary by person, and getting a personalized recommendation is the best way to stay safe.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Workers can avoid heat-related illness with the right precautions. But if something goes wrong, it’s essential to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion. Without treatment, the condition can quickly lead to heat stroke, which is life-threatening.

Watch out for these common signs of heat exhaustion:

Dizziness and nausea. Feeling lightheaded, dizzy, or nauseous is a common sign of heat exhaustion.

Excessive sweating or cool skin. A person’s body may excessively sweat when it’s too hot. But it can also go the other way and feel cool to the touch. Goosebumps may appear, and the skin might feel moist.

Fatigue and irregular pulse. Feeling fatigued may be a sign of heat exhaustion. Later stages might include a pulse that’s too fast or slow.

Never ignore symptoms. Move to a cooler area and drink water if you notice signs of heat exhaustion. Call emergency services if symptoms don’t improve in 1 hour or if they get worse.

Take Breaks! Keep Yourself Safe

Overall, the best way to stay safe in the heat is to take breaks and stay hydrated. Ensure you have access to a colder area to rest, and consistently drink water throughout the day. Following these rules can help you work efficiently and avoid burnout — but most importantly, it will keep you safe.

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Marc Weinstein

Dr. Weinstein's interest in eyecare was sparked at a young age when he struggled in school due to an undiagnosed eye condition. Once he received a diagnosis and underwent vision therapy prescribed by an optometrist, his life changed. This experience ignited his passion for optometry and improving people's lives through better vision.

With a career dedicated to optometry, Dr. Weinstein has made significant contributions to the field. In October 2000, he launched the website to address the affordability of prescription eyeglasses. 39DollarGlasses offers lightweight and shatter-resistant polycarbonate lenses as well as hundreds of stylish frames at affordable prices, making quality eyewear accessible to more people.

His understanding of the crucial role that protective eyewear plays in preventing eye injuries and his unwavering commitment to eye safety led Dr. Weinstein to launch Ocusafe™ offers a collection of high-quality safety glasses that meet the highest industry standards for durability and effectiveness. Through Ocusafe™, Dr. Weinstein aims to fulfill the needs of individuals and companies seeking top-quality safety eyewear and prioritize eye safety in various industries and activities.

Dr. Weinstein is dedicated to educating patients about the benefits of different lens enhancements, which can improve vision and provide relief for various conditions. These enhancements have a positive impact on migraines, sleep, and photophobia. His passion for this cause has resulted in the introduction of Neurolux™ headache lenses on and Ocusleep™ lenses, available at He also launched to meet the growing demand for safe contact lenses.

Dr. Weinstein earned his doctorate from the Illinois College of Optometry and completed his residency in Low Vision and Geriatrics at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. In addition to his professional pursuits, he enjoys traveling, sports, and spending quality time with his wife and three children.