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Heat: How pool builders can beat it this summer

Proper nutrition ensures good health

It is imperative one understands how to prevent heat-related illnesses, as they can sneak up on a person. With proper prevention systems in place for working outdoors in the hot weather, there is one crucial factor workers need to pay attention to—nutrition. Individuals who have been involved in some kind of athletic activity will agree to the importance of nutrition in any given program. One can go to the gym and work out as much as they want, but without the proper diet, the results will be less than satisfactory. Poor nutrition is one of the main contributors to diseases like cancer and heart attacks. The author suggests a few tips to check one’s diet and ensure they receive proper nutrition.

Staying hydrated

Drinking water is the most important of them all. As noted in the heat-related illnesses, water plays a crucial role in the prevention and treatment of each situation. Although water intake recommendations may vary from one person to another, there are general recommendations of 3.7 L (0.9 gal) for males and 2.7 L (0.7 gal) for females.One must remember to increase their water intake when working outdoors in hot weather. Note: One must drink plenty of water, not coffee, cola, or fruit juice as the caffeine and sugar will stress out the adrenal glands, leaving one feeling fatigued. A lack of energy can be a result of dehydration. Staying hydrated is part of the equation for staying healthy and energized each day.

Diet

Health. Nuts are one of the most basic snacks to stock in a service truck, preferably almonds; however, sunflower seeds or even regular peanuts are good choices, too.
Nuts are one of the most basic snacks to stock in a service truck, preferably almonds; however, sunflower seeds or even regular peanuts are good choices, too.

The next part of the equation relies on the food one eats. This can be an issue for many workers who choose to skip meals in order to cater to immediate customer demands. Therefore, snacking throughout the day may be the most beneficial component to add. Nuts are one of the most basic snacks to stock in a service truck, preferably almonds; however, sunflower seeds or even regular peanuts are good choices, too. Nuts contain good fats (to keep one feeling full) and are a high source of fibre. They can also sustain hot environments for a long period of time (e.g. can be stored in a service truck).

Next would be to pack some apples, bananas, or even avocados in a lunch box as they are good sources of carbohydrates, potassium, and magnesium. This diet will help sustain energy and retain water in the body. One can also include dark, leafy greens in their meals, such as spinach or broccoli. These foods provide a large number of minerals, and therefore, are referred to as ‘super foods.’

Finally, the author suggests looking at intermittent fasting. An understanding of how to eat one’s food properly in a specific time block will benefit those who eat one meal a day. One of the benefits of intermittent fasting is heightened mental alertness, which can be beneficial, but must be researched beforehand. A doctor or a nutritionist must be consulted first. Intermittent fasting is a basic, achievable plan for those who are unable to find the time to eat throughout the day.

Stay healthy, stay fit

In conclusion, there are many factors one must consider to stay healthy while working outdoors in the hot weather. Although it may seem like a basic topic, it is often overlooked. Investing the time to understand the effects of heat-related illnesses, formulating a plan for prevention and treatment, along with following a nutritious diet will lead to a healthier and lucrative lifestyle for pool and spa professionals. A healthy body is a recipe that can help grow and sustain a business for years to come.

Tips to remain healthy while on the job

There are some general tips workers can follow to prevent themselves from falling sick due to long hours of sun exposure, including:

  • Stay physically fit;
  • Try completing work in the morning and/or avoid working in full sun;
  • Increase the number of breaks throughout the day;
  • Use sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) 15 or higher and re-apply every couple hours;
  • Wear ultraviolet factor (UPF) designed, loose-fitting clothes along with a wide-brimmed hat;
  • Wear sunglasses that meet American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Ultraviolet (UV) requirements;
  • Increase water intake (aim for 5L [1.3 gal] each day);
  • Include mineral rich foods such as dark, leafy greens (spinach, broccoli, etc.), nuts (almonds, sunflower seeds), bananas, and avocados;
  • Avoid alcohol, energy drinks, and excessive caffeine as they lead to dehydration;
  • Use the buddy system to watch for symptoms; and
  • Be prepared to handle each condition appropriately.

As an employer, one can also assist in the prevention of heat-related illnesses.

  • Train workers to be aware of each condition and how to treat them;
  • Ensure drinking water is available on-site;
  • Provide rest breaks and air conditioned rest areas;
  • Encourage workers to stay fit and drink plenty of water;
  • Provide fans for air movement if necessary;
  • Use machines where necessary to reduce manual labour;
  • Plan for the most demanding work during the cooler times of the day;
  • Avoid treating workers with coffee and doughnuts and opt for water, fruit, and vegetables instead; and
  • Recommend proper attire and sunscreen.

Steve Leslie is the customer service manager at Highbury Pools, a manufacturer and distributor of pool products, including steel walls, equipment, and vinyl liners, based in London, Ont. He has four years of experience in the pool industry, is also a real estate investor, has worked for the Canadian Department of National Defence, and is a former business owner. He can be reached via e-mail at steve@highburypools.com.

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