Do you spend your days at the pool, whistle in hand, ready to save lives like a “Baywatch” blonde? Or maybe you earn your paycheck entertaining the young ones dressed as Otto the Otter at your theme park job. Now that it's officially summer, the days are getting warmer and warmer, and for those of you working outdoors, this can cause some discomfort. We've come up with some tips to help keep you healthy and more comfortable in the summer heat so you can focus on the job at hand. Burned is not the new tan, by the way.
Here is some advice on how to beat the heat if you don't have the luxury of central air at your summer job:
Leave your tanning oil at home
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Pretty scary, huh? Sunscreen is crucial whenever you're outside, especially if you'll be working long hours in direct sunlight. Use a sunblock with an SPF of at least 30, and reapply every two hours. If you go swimming or sweat profusely, reapply even more often than that. If you do get too much sun and wind up with a nasty burn, apply gel or lotion with aloe to the all affected areas. You can also place damp tea bags on a burn, or add about a cup of baking soda to bath water to soothe your skin. Be sure to stay out of the sun or cover your skin with loose-fitting clothing for at least a few days to give yourself time to heal.
A big floppy hat and sunglasses will shield your face and eyes from the damaging rays. Look for wraparound sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV rays. It’s your choice if you want to go Ray-Ban or Tar-Jay - they have that UV protection sticker.
Keep it covered up
While you may think outside temps warrant tank tops and daisy dukes, take Mom's advice and "cover up." In reality, it's better to wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing made of breathable fabrics like cotton--so please, keep your 80s spandex shorts in the closet. In addition, boots and other closed toed shoes are better than the summer staple of flip-flops and sandals. Your feet and little piggies can get sunburned too, so don't forget about them.
Always stay hydrated in the heat. Maybe we should say it again: Always stay hydrated in the heat. Drink small amounts of water often to replenish what you'll be losing through perspiration. And if you have a restaurant job, parking your head under the soda fountain doesn't count--avoid artificial sugars and caffeine, and stick with the natural stuff: good old H20.
Trust your gut
If you feel faint, dizzy or nauseated, take a break immediately. Sit down in a shaded area or find a nearby building to cool off and hit the water fountain. Don't try to impress your boss or coworkers by sticking it out when you're feeling terrible - you can't afford to try and look cool when you're really overheating.
So make a mental note of these health and safety tips and you'll have a safer summer work environment. Oh and one more thing: After your shift, take a cool shower and wash your clothes at a high temperature. Cool water helps regulate your body temperature; hot washing rids your threads of all that sweat and dirt. Besides, we really don't want to hang out with you until you're all cleaned up.