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Those working outdoors struggle to stay hydrated

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) – Triple-digit temperatures are baking Lawton again this week and no one feels the sweltering Oklahoma heat more than those who work outside.

The best way to avoid heat-related illness is to stay inside. Those who work in landscaping or construction don't have that option.

Fortunately, they have enough experience in this environment to know how to prevent something tragic. Their main concern is to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water during these heat waves.

Mikie Hunter is a landscape former for Bedrock Nursery in Lawton. He and his crew deal with extreme summer heat while remodeling and landscaping homes. He makes sure to take precautions to keep himself and his co-workers safe.

"Well, every morning you know we start at 6 or 6:30 these days and try to get off at 3:30. Try to get the guys out of the heat, the hot part of it. Every morning, we get bags of ice and fill up our water jugs and make sure the guys stay well hydrated," Hunter said.

Thomas Martinez has been working with Matherly's Asphalt and Paving Construction company for 7 years. Working with asphalt is a dangerous job considering it can reach 425 degrees. He says there are other ways to beat the summer heat.

"I carry a mister around. A portable mister also keeps you cool. For the most part, you can't really stay too cool when you are working in the asphalt, you just have to keep hydrated. I drink probably two to three gallons easy a day, Gatorade, put a lot of sunblock on. If you take regular breaks, because you can’t work too, too much in asphalt. Its been a rough summer, this summer has been pretty warm," Martinez said.

The occupational safety and health administration recommends four cups every hour after the heat index passes 103 degrees, with a six cups maximum every hour, to stay hydrated.

"It's really important though to drink it during the day, but that night before that’s really when you want to drank a bunch of your water. It helps you to re-hydrate for that next day," Hunter said.

Hunter says although his job is tough he makes sure his co-workers do not wind up getting hurt, because of the heat.

"We all work with each other so long. You know, you can tell when a person has had enough. We try to not make them work to the extent to where they are going to pass out. You know, take breaks, get under the tree, catch some shade, get some water in them, but it's hard sometimes," Hunter said.

Here are some tips from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration you can use to prevent dehydration while working outside: drink water every 15 minutes (even if you are not thirsty), rest in the shade to cool down, and wear a hat and light-colored clothing.

If you feel nauseous, dizzy, or unable to focus in the heat, call 911.

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