by Haley Toohill, MS, ATC, LAT

It’s hot! But it’s a dry heat… I mean, it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity! Whichever hot weather cliché you choose, what remains is summer days are here to stay for awhile. And with hotter than normal temperatures country-wide, this means we need to stay PREPARED, stay hydrated, and stay cool!

Risky To Get Crispy

The Center for Disease Control explains those at greatest risk for heat-related illness are the young, elderly, those with chronic conditions, and those that participate in summertime activities – and yes, this includes working outside! Not only do we need to be cautious mowing the lawn, gardening, and watering, but this means when our day-to-day work puts us in these situations. Construction work is a prime example of an industry with an increased risk of heat-related illnesses.

Sun Block

There are several ways to protect yourself from heat-related illness when working outdoors in the sun. As we’ve previously discussed, proper hydration is key! As well, OSHA recommends wearing lightweight, loose fitting, and light-colored clothes, while the Mayo Clinic states wearing too much clothing or too tightly fitted clothing affects the body to cool itself properly. Opt to wear fabrics that breathe or polyester blends that have moisture wicking properties.

A Cooler Choice

Apart from hydration and proper attire, we’d like to offer another cool option to keep in your toolbox – cooling towels! These towels can help regulate body temperatures through evaporative cooling technology. Simply put, they act as an artificial temperature regulator when your body isn’t regulating temperature as it should in hot weather. While studies have not shown cooling towels to reduce core body temperature, Work Right recommends they not be a ‘fix-all’ to prevent heat-illness. However, they’re certainly helpful tools in the ongoing struggle to prevent the effects of heat-related illnesses in low to medium humidity environments.

Interested in trying out a cooling towel? Find the steps for use to the right. Don’t have a cooling towel? Try a homemade one from your own personal stock of hand or sports towels!

How To Use a Cooling Towel

  1. Soak the towel thoroughly with cool water for a couple of minutes
  2. Wring out the excess water
  3. Give it a good shake or whip a few times to activate cooling. As long as your towel is moist, you can ‘recharge’ your towel.

Haley Toohill, MS, ATC, LAT || Haley is an Injury Prevention Specialist in Arizona. She grew up in Illinois where she pursued further education, studied, and played basketball and softball at Parkland College and Millikin University. She holds a master’s degree from A.T. Still University. She enjoys riding her peloton, exploring new foods and cocktails, and hanging out with her dog, Gracie Lou Freebush.

Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips for the industrial athlete from Work Right NW!