Electrolyte Drinks for Workers

| BlackHawk Team

Now that summer is here, keeping workers hydrated is a priority. This is especially important for those working in hot factories or warehouses. With the heat coming off of machines and the lack of air circulation inside many work plants, it can be hotter inside than it is outside.     

Just a few days ago, Occupational Health & Safety published an article on managing heat stress, citing that “hot in-plant temperatures can negatively impact employee productivity and create health hazards.”

During the months of June, July and August, workers are at a higher risk of becoming overheated and dehydrated. While there’s nothing you can do to control the weather, what you can do is make sure your employees are properly hydrated. Providing them with water and the necessary electrolytes will help them stay healthy, keep up their strength and ultimately work more efficiently.   

Are Electrolyte Drinks Necessary?

The answer depends on the duration of exercise and the amount of sweat involved. For a typical workout at the gym, water is fine. The same goes for kids in mainstream youth sports. For the majority of the population, on most days, water is the best choice for staying hydrated. However, in extreme cases of heat and long stretches of heavy activity, electrolyte replacements may be necessary.

According to a recent report by Cleveland Clinic, drinking water is recommended for an hour or less of activity. For 75 minutes or more of sweating – especially in hot conditions – electrolyte supplements can help restore essential elements. 

The US National Library of Medicine explains that electrolytes are minerals in your body that have an electric charge. They are in your blood, urine, tissues, and other body fluids.

Electrolytes are important because they help:

  • Balance the amount of water in your body
  • Balance your body's acid/base (pH) level
  • Move nutrients into your cells
  • Move wastes out of your cells
  • Make sure that your nerves, muscles, the heart, and the brain work the way they should

On a normal day, the body needs three quarts of water to keep fluid levels balanced. In extreme heat, as your body perspires, you lose key electrolytes – primarily sodium – that water alone does not replenish. Low fluids and electrolyte levels can lead to dehydration, throwing off the body’s balance. Workers can become lethargic and sick.

Signs of mild dehydration:

  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dark urine
  • Dry skin
  • Light-headedness
  • Dizziness

Signs of severe dehydration:

  • Confusion
  • Increased heart rate
  • Feeling ill
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