Dehydration can start out with flakey or clammy skin or even mood changes, like irritability. If left untreated, especially over the course of a long workday, it can contribute to constipation and higher sensitivity to pain. Here are some of the more serious symptoms to watch out for that can impact job performance.
Dizziness and headache
The most common physical reactions people experience when dehydrated are dizziness and headaches. That’s because people who are dehydrated often have reduced blood pressure or lower blood volume. These symptoms hinder the blood from reaching the brain the way it should, thereby causing dizziness and headaches. These factors may seem pretty harmless at first, but they have a significant impact on a professional’s productivity.
Decreased cognitive and motor skills
Moreover, some people may also exhibit decreased cognitive and motor skills. Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology found that dehydration can impair attentiveness, problem-solving, and other cognitive functions. The more dehydrated an individual got, the more errors they made at seemingly simple, repetitive tasks.
Another study demonstrated how dehydrated participants performed just as poorly on a driving test as those who have alcohol in their systems or are sleep deprived. What all of these findings prove is that dehydration poses great accident potential to people who are hard at work, despite their experience or level of competence.
The most serious and life-threatening complication that could arise from dehydration is a hypovolemic shock. This grave medical condition happens when a person loses more than 20% of their blood or fluid supply, making it impossible for the heart to pump enough blood for the whole body. This type of shock then causes multiple organs to stop functioning altogether. This type of dehydration is usually the result of extreme sweating, prolonged diarrhea, or excessive vomiting. This could definitely happen in individuals working long hours outdoors.
Laborers who work under the sun are extremely prone to dehydration. This is because heat stress has a direct impact on how fast the body loses water. Strenuous work in the sun, heat, and humidity causes you to sweat, thereby quickly depleting your body's fluids. Working outside in the cold isn't any better — after all, we regulate body temperature through fluids. In the cold, we lose fluid through breathing and increased urination.
Healthcare professions characterized by long shifts with limited ability to take breaks make proper hydration a challenge. Police officers, firefighters, and EMTs also fit into this category. Over 45% of nurses and doctors are dehydrated at the end of their shift. Hospital guidelines prohibit open fluid containers at the nurse’s station along with PPE (personal protective equipment) make access to fluids a little more challenging.
Even those who are safe from the rays of the sun are also at risk of dehydration. One particular study found that those who work in hot environments indoors, like factories, often suffer from dehydration. Moreover, with limited chances to quench their thirst during heat exposure, many of them are not able to get over their dehydration during their break times.
Dehydration is an occupational hazard that can impact workplace safety if not immediately addressed. In addition to making sure that you drink plenty of water, be sure to check in with your body and be mindful of any lingering dizziness or light-headedness after a long day at work.
Three great indicators of hydration are urine color, odor, and frequency. Your urine should be a pale yellow, it should not have a strong odor and you should urinate a few times a day. If you go an entire shift without urinating and when you do it is dark and smelly, you are dehydrated!
Aim for a daily minimum of ½ ounce fluid per pound of body weight. If you work outside, aim for 1 ounce per pound of body weight. If you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75-150 ounces of fluid a day.
Using a product such as Cerasport ex1® is a great way to hydrate before, during, and after your shift. The higher sodium levels in ex1 will help you hold onto more fluid and replenish excess electrolyte losses. Mix one stick in 16 oz water. Many of the work scenarios mentioned result in more serious dehydration that may require IV fluids. This is not always accessible. Ceralyte 70® can be used in place of IV fluids as an oral rehydration solution. Mix a 50-gram pouch in one liter of water and drink. Using Ceralyte 70 can keep professionals on the job and out of the emergency department from dehydration-related illness.
Do you have any questions about proper hydration? Cera Products has leaders in hydration research on staff to answer your questions and help you decide what product is right for you. From occupational hydration, sports hydration, clinical hydration, and pediatric hydration Cera have professionals available to assist. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cera Products manufactures an array of hydration products using a rice-based carbohydrate. Our products are made in the USA, contain zero added sugar, zero fructose, no artificial colors or artificial sweeteners, are gluten-free and low FODMAP.
exclusively written for ceraproductsinc.com By Kamille John
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