Jumpstart Your Day: Drink a Glass of Water

By Randy Palladino

Do you ever feel like you’re not up to par? Maybe you’ve got a bit of headache or you’re feeling fatigued even before your shift has started? You might be dehydrated. Drinking a glass of water might be all you need to feel better and begin the workday at the top of your game. Most people know that drinking water throughout the day is essential for staying hydrated when working outdoors in hot weather or when wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). What they may not realize is that it’s also important to stay hydrated when outdoor temperatures are comfortable or when the workday is inside an air-conditioned office.

Chronic dehydration may not lead to heat stress or heat stroke, but it can affect overall health, worksite productivity and safety. Even one percent dehydration can affect short-term memory and attention span in both men and women. This can lower productivity and increase the risk for injury. Regardless of the time of year or whether a job requires PPE, it’s important that employers schedule water breaks and encourage employees to drink.

The best way to encourage workers to drink more water is to ensure that it’s accessible. Dehydration is less likely to be an issue at worksites when water is made available, placed where it’s easily seen and convenient to access. The fact is most Americans and Canadians are chronically dehydrated and don’t know it. In the United States alone, 75 percent of Americans consume considerably less water than the recommended eight cups a day.

The adult body is 60 percent water, and in order to carry out functions that include digestion, flushing toxins and regulating body temperature, this proportion needs to be maintained. During a normal day, breathing, sweating and urinating cause the average person to lose about eight cups of water. That’s about three quarts that need to be replenished. Construction workers can lose even more due to the strenuous nature of their job, from taking medications for common conditions like high blood pressure or if they are diabetic. That’s why it’s particularly important that construction workers don’t wait until they’re thirsty to drink water. By the time a person feels the need to drink, they’re already dehydrated.

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