Water is essential for the cells and organs in our bodies to function, allowing us to engage in complex activities such as playing sports and even processes we don’t think about such as breathing. When humans drink enough water, we feel good-our muscles cramp up less when we exercise, our brains perform faster cognitive calculations, and we digest our food more efficiently and effectively. The human body is, after all, comprised of 60% water. So, water is clearly critical to a healthy and productive lifestyle. But what happens when humans do not drink enough water? How does a deficit in water intake affect our bodily functions, behaviors and health?
Dehydration happens when our bodies are not consuming enough water or fluids to account for the water lost. Although our bodies process and lose water at a baseline rate that generally aligns with our metabolism, we can lose fluids at higher rates when we are sick, exercising, sweating heavily or suffering from other conditions that result in the loss of excess amounts of water.
Individuals who experience mild dehydration can be treated simply by consuming enough fluids to replace the amount being lost by the body. Severe dehydration calls for immediate medical treatment due to the extreme low levels of water and oxygen in the bloodstream, and you should consult medical personnel to act quickly to avoid damage to tissues or vital organs.
First Call employees that work in the field can never know when the phone may ring, so it is difficult to try and game plan when to hydrate for a call. The only way to “pre-hydrate” is to be weather aware. Make yourself aware when it may be very hot outside and start drinking and be ready for the warm weather. If you are trying to hydrate for the call you are already in the field, it is already too late. True hydration starts the day before and our techs should understand that.
Any time it is warm outside we should be doing several things in the field.
#1 We should always have water available.
#2 We should be rotating our crews to a cool area to rehab and rehydrate. (Additional personnel may be needed if it too hot and more advanced PPE is needed)
#3 Make sure the weather conditions are specifically detailed in the Tailgate safety form and the in the narrative for the field sheet.
Always take care of your people.