Temperatures here in Kissimmee are back to summer levels. After being indoors for some time, the heat could shock your system when you start getting out again, especially if you work outdoors. When summer weather hits, your employer has an obligation to help you avoid heat-related illnesses, such as dehydration.
Even so, your employer’s effort may be woefully inadequate or just not enough for the conditions under which you work. You will need to monitor yourself to make sure that you do not suffer from dehydration, which could have numerous health consequences that could cause you harm.
Catching dehydration in its mild phase
While you may need to focus on your duties while working, you may also want to watch for these signs of mild dehydration:
- Dry mouth
- Dry lips
- Flushed skin
- Muscle weakness
- Decreased urination
- Dark urine
If you stop what you are doing, hydrate and rest for a bit, you can reverse these symptoms and return to work with little to no health consequences.
Suffering from moderate dehydration
If you, your coworkers and your employer all fail to monitor you for the signs of mild dehydration in lieu of getting the job done, you could suffer from the following:
- Signs of mild dehydration
- Sunken eyes
- Severe headache
- Severe irritability
- Painful and/or stiff joints
- Very dark urine
- Little urine output
If you reach this point, you will most likely have trouble even performing your duties, but it can happen so quickly, you may not notice it until it reaches this point. You may need some medical intervention in order to return to normal.
Suffering from severe dehydration
If you exhibit any of the following, you should seek medical attention right away:
- Signs of mild and moderate dehydration
- Low blood pressure
- Rapid breathing
- Lack of sweating
- Cold hands and feet
- High fever
- Weak and rapid pulse
- Little or no urination
Believe it or not, severe dehydration could sneak up on you. By the time you reach this point, you risk permanent damage to your internal organs. The problem with hot and human climates is that you may not realize you are getting seriously dehydrated until it’s too late. You may think you are drinking enough fluids, but if you are only drinking what you would ordinarily, it’s probably not enough.
You will need extra water, and your employer should know this and provide you with time to drink more and water. You could help protect yourself by bringing your own and not letting anyone tell you that you can’t take breaks in order to remain hydrated. If you do suffer from moderate to severe work-related dehydration, you may apply for workers’ compensation benefits for any medical care you may need and a portion of any income you lose while recuperating. Other benefits may be available, depending on the circumstances.