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Hydration In The Workplace Is Not Just A Summer Issue

December 7, 2022
Author: Bubba Wolford

In the hottest days of summer, we are frequently reminded to hydrate often, but what about the cold winter days? The air in colder weather is drier, so when we breathe in, our lungs have to work overtime to add humidity and warm it up. The harder the body works, the more hydration it will need. Regardless of the season, a healthy body loses between 13 to 24 ounces of water every day. Just the water vapor we exhale alone can fill more than a one-liter bottle. So it is important to ensure that your workforce is sufficiently hydrated as it is a critical step to maintaining a safe and healthy workplace throughout the year.

Why is Hydration important

The average human body is composed of about 60% water. It is an essential nutrient that allows us to function at an optimal level by

  • Flushing out internal toxins from the body
  • Carrying nutrients to vital organs
  • Assisting with regulation of core body temperature

We all lose some of this water throughout the day through normal activities like sweating (including between skin and winter clothing), exhaling, urinating, diuretic intake, and natural body exertion to maintain the core temperature (like shivering). But maintaining proper fluid levels is critical for our bodies to function at full capacity. Without enough fluids, our bodies start to go into dehydration mode. Depending on the severity of the dehydration, this could have a significant impact on the ability to work and function properly.

Winter Dehydration

Dehydration isn’t just caused by sweating under the summer sun. A number of factors can contribute to unsafe body temperature drops and fluid loss in winter weather:

  • Freezing temperatures and wind chill
  • Improper clothing for the weather
  • Physical exertion
  • Direct exposure to harsh weather
  • Lack of fluid intake and poor diet
  • Pre-existing medical conditions
  • Poor physical conditioning

Are You Properly Hydrated?

Knowing the importance of hydration is one thing; ensuring it is another. That’s why it’s critical for workers to understand how to gauge their hydration level and what steps to take to maintain body fluids. You can’t always rely on the thirsty feeling to remind you that your body needs more fluids. One of the easiest ways to tell if your body is properly hydrated is by a quick examination of your urine color.

  • Pale and plentiful = proper hydration
  • Medium to dark yellow = mild dehydration, more fluids required
  • Medium to dark orange = severe dehydration, contact a physician
  • (Using and posting a visual guide can be helpful.)

Properly Hydrated

Additional symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Thirst (though not always)
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Hot and dry skin

symptoms of dehydration

In general, it’s recommended that the average adult drink one quart per hour of active work, distributing the intake over a period of time. For example, getting into the habit of drinking about 1 cup (250 ml) of fluid every 15 minutes will keep your hydration levels up for the duration of your shift. It’s important to understand, though, that every body is different and the required amount of hydration varies depending on several factors:

  • Underlying health conditions – People dealing with high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease may have different hydration requirements, and certain medications can change the way the body responds to environmental factors.
  • Level of physical exertion – Performing basic tasks (even if it’s just breathing) causes the body to lose hydration. The harder the task, the more fluid your body will lose.
  • Work environment – In cold weather, sweat tends to turn to water vapor quickly, and extra clothing layers can prevent us from realizing we are getting dehydrated. This is one of the main causes of hypothermia in people who remain outdoors for long periods of time.

Making Winter Hydration a Workplace Priority

As important as it is for individual workers to take responsibility for their health, there are ways for managers to make the workplace a hydration-friendly environment.

Provide Education and Training

Basic education is one of the key ways of ensuring that your employees stay adequately hydrated. Most people know the body requires more hydration when it’s hot outside, but many will be surprised to find out that it’s also a big deal in cold weather. Offering quick, informative training sessions can have a big impact on prevention and preparedness, minimizing the risk of dehydration-related illness.

Have Fluids Readily Available

Workers may be more likely to take hydration breaks when they have drinks easily accessible to them. Employers can help by providing water and warm drinks during the winter. Electrolyte replacement drinks like Sqwincher can help replenish depleted electrolytes like sodium and potassium and offer a bit of an energy boost. Drinks that are warm or at room temperature are better at maintaining the body’s internal temperature and they’re a better choice than cold drinks while working in colder temperatures. Since caffeine actually dehydrates the body, it’s a good idea to stay away from coffee stations at winter worksites.

Enforce Regular Breaks

Each worksite should have a shelter (ideally a heated one) where workers can get relief from the chilly weather. It’s also a great place to keep water and warm drinks. Mandating regular breaks is a great way to remind workers to stop and re-hydrate before returning to the job.

Conclusion

Hydration (and dehydration) is an all-season issue. Our bodies lose substantial amounts of water every day, and failing to replace these fluids can lead to ill effects like impaired performance – or worse. Educating workers about proper hydration and providing hydration stations at winter worksites are simple steps any employer can take to ensure employees maintain safe fluid levels throughout the day. By making hydration a habit all through the year, both employers and employees will be rewarded with a healthier workplace.


Are you looking for supplies to keep your workers cool and your budget intact while minimizing your carbon and plastic footprint? HydrationDepot.com has you covered. Contact us to place your order today or click here to shop. Your staff, your accountant, and Mother Earth will thank you!


Evaporative Coolers

March 14, 2022
Author: Melissa Schechter
Portacool Jetstream Portable Evaporative Coolers

Are you looking for an efficient and affordable cooling solution? If so, you've probably come across references to both evaporative coolers and swamp coolers. You might be wondering what’s the difference.

There is no true difference between these two terms. "Evaporative cooler" is a technically accurate name that describes how the device functions. "Swamp cooler" is a somewhat derogative slang term that describes what can happen to an evaporative cooler if you don’t take proper care of it.

Evaporative Coolers: It’s How They Work

Evaporative cooler is a term that describes how this type of air conditioning (loosely defined) works. Evaporative coolers take advantage of the fact that evaporating a liquid requires considerable energy. When that energy comes from the air, the air cools down. It’s the same effect that lets your body cool down by sweating.

Evaporative coolers maximize this effect. They create a situation where hot air can evaporate a lot of water. They do this with what is called an evaporative medium. The evaporative medium soaks up water like a high-tech sponge, but it also lets air pass through. When a fan pushes or pulls air through the evaporative medium, a lot of this water evaporates, cooling the air.

With one pass through an evaporative cooler, the air temperature can drop by 30° F. This lets evaporative coolers provide effective climate control even when you can’t trap or concentrate cooled air for multiple passes.

Swamp Cooler: Where’d the Name Come From?

If evaporative cooler is a technical description of how the devices work, swamp cooler is an evocative one – and what it evokes isn’t always pleasant.

Where did this name come from? As with many slang terms, nobody knows for sure. The common assumption is that the name refers to what happened to old style evaporative coolers if they weren’t properly cared for.

Wherever there is standing water, there is potential for the growth of algae and mold. An evaporative cooler increases this potential by sucking in air that can be laden with additional resources for these microorganisms to feed on, including pollen, seeds, and other airborne debris.

To make matters worse, early evaporative coolers used evaporative media made of untreated wood wool, aspen wood fibers, also called excelsior. These fibers would degrade and break apart, falling into the reservoir, where they would mold and decay. This led to an evaporative cooler that looked and smelled like a swamp. So they were called swamp coolers.

How to Make Sure Your Evaporative Cooler Isn’t a Swamp Cooler

These days, there's no reason why an evaporative cooler should fit the name "swamp cooler." With modern materials and design, it takes only minimal maintenance to avoid odors and contamination of your evaporative cooler.

Modern evaporative media like Kuul Comfort are cellulose pads - like a special form of paper. They are much better at absorbing water without breaking down into debris in your reservoir. In addition, they are treated to inhibit the growth of mold and algae.

To avoid odors in your evaporative cooler, take the time to clean the unit once a week. In most Portacool models, you can start by shutting off the water pump while running the fan. This dries out the evaporative media. Meanwhile, drain the reservoir. Take out the evaporative media and clean out the reservoir with soap and water. Rinse thoroughly and dry fully. Then replace the evaporative media, refill the reservoir, and you’re good to go.

Long-Lasting and Low-Maintenance Evaporative Coolers from Portacool

If you are looking for a way to keep cool in poorly insulated spaces, near heat sources, or outdoors, Portacool evaporative coolers are a great option. Well-designed to supply fresh air with only minimal maintenance, you will never have to describe them as "swamp coolers."

Shop Now


Are you looking for supplies to keep your workers cool and your budget intact while minimizing your carbon and plastic footprint? HydrationDepot.com has you covered. Contact us to place your order today or click here to shop. Your staff, your accountant, and Mother Earth will thank you!


Cool Places to Work

May 19, 2021
Author: Melissa Schechter
Cool places to work top hero

As the weather heats up, so too do your employees. One of the most important things to keep workers safe, healthy, and productive in warm weather is to ensure they stay hydrated. The question is how best to do this in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and still reach the sustainability goals you announced to your staff, customers, and other stakeholders. Luckily, you have a few options. But first, let’s look at the dangers of worker dehydration.

A Balancing Act

The human body is 60% water, and our brains are approximately 85% water. We need water to maintain our blood volume and pressure and to keep our bodies functioning properly. We also need electrolytes. Sodium, potassium, chloride, and other electrolytes are minerals in your blood, urine, tissues, and other body fluids that maintain water balance in your body. Without them, you become dehydrated... Read More


Are you looking for supplies to keep your workers cool and your budget intact while minimizing your carbon and plastic footprint? HydrationDepot.com has you covered. Contact us > to place your order today. Your staff, your accountant, and Mother Earth will thank you!


The Importance of Electrolytes

January 19, 2021
Author: Melissa Schechter
Importance of electrolytes top hero

So you're gearing up for another race. You've planned your workouts in minute detail, and you're sticking to your program like your life depends on it. All you need now is a performance-boosting nutrition strategy.

Thankfully, it's not all mysterious. You already know you won't get far without replenishing the triumvirate of endurance nutrition: calories, fluids and electrolytes. The calorie part is easy -- fuel equals energy and energy equals performance.

The same goes for fluids -- dehydration won't just slow you down, it's also dangerous. But what about electrolytes? You've been told you need them, and you may even know they help keep body chemistry in balance. But how critical are they to performance?

Very. Electrolytes aren't just essential for optimal performance; they're critical for any kind of performance. The truth is, you should be just as concerned about replenishing them as you are with replacing lost fluid... Read More


Are you looking for supplies to keep your workers cool and your budget intact while minimizing your carbon and plastic footprint? HydrationDepot.com has you covered. Contact us to place your order today. Your staff, your accountant, and Mother Earth will thank you!


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