There’s a lot to love about Florida in the summer.
But that’s easy to forget the second you head outside to do yard work.
With the high temperatures, the humidity, and the beating sun, working outside during a Florida summer isn’t just unpleasant. It can actually be dangerous.
Heat stroke, or overheating of the body, sends thousands of Americans to the emergency room every year. It’s often caused by physical exertion in high temperatures, according to Mayo Clinic.
So if you have lawn care or landscaping on your to-do list this summer, we want to help you be safe about it. We’ve called in guest expert Della Tuten, co-owner of Celebrate Primary Care, to teach us how to avoid heat stroke when working outside this summer.
Celebrate Primary Care is a Gainesville concierge medical practice centered on the patient-provider relationship. For more information, contact Celebrate Primary Care online or at (352) 474-8686.
The information below is intended only for your general knowledge, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Do not use it as advice or to diagnose or treat any health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
How to Avoid Heat Stroke when Working Outside: Guest Expert Della Tuten of Celebrate Primary Care
What are the signs of heat exhaustion?
A throbbing headache that comes on when you’re hot is a bad sign. It might not start out feeling crazy, but it’s one of the first things you should recognize as a warning.
Weakness, dizziness, confusion, muscle cramps, and vomiting are also red flags. Your skin might also get red and hot, or you might get a cold, clammy feeling.
The crazy thing is that you can still have a normal temperature when these symptoms arrive. So don’t think that just because your temperature hasn’t spiked, you’re in the clear.
How should people hydrate when working outside in the heat?
Start out by drinking 8 to 12 ounces of water every 15 minutes, even if you’re not thirsty.
You can also make a diluted electrolyte beverage, such as ⅔ water and ⅓ Gatorade. I would avoid straight Gatorade or Powerade due to the sugar. Steer clear of caffeine, since it speeds dehydration, and stay away from alcohol while you’re out in the sun working as well.
What should people wear to protect themselves from the heat?
A lot of times, when people do yard work outside, they want to take off their shirts. But that means the sun will be pounding your skin and you’re more likely to get a sunburn. Instead, loose-fitting, light clothing can protect your skin and act like a cooling device by allowing for movement of air.
There are a lot of long-sleeve cooling shirts available on the market–look for one that wicks moisture away and has a blended, breathable fabric. Fishing shirts are a good option, for example.
Wear a hat with a wide brim to protect your face while you’re working.
What other techniques will help prevent heat stroke during lawn care?
My personal opinion would be to avoid outdoor summer yard work altogether by hiring a professional like Sun Power Lawn Care. Tom and his team have the right equipment to finish your lawn care and landscaping quickly, and the right training to stay cool and safe while they’re at work.
If you do work outside in the heat, don’t overdo it. I would suggest taking a break in the shade at least every 30 minutes, or even every 15 when you’re doing your water break.
Since so much heat comes from your head and upper body, you can wear a towel around your neck to reduce your body temperature. Look for “cooling towels” or “sports towels” that are designed to be wet and cool you off.
Or you can just pour water directly on your head and then put your hat back on to lower your body temperature.