Heatwave: A Survival Guide for Nurses
Wherever you work and whatever you work as, the hot weather affects everyone. With the potential for heatstroke and the very real dangers posed by dehydration, it can cause worrying conditions for both patients and healthcare professionals.
So, what can you do to stay safe in the hot weather? We asked real nurses for their top tips!
- Make sure fluids are readily available
Studies show that people are more likely to drink fluids that are readily available. Make sure there is a water option like a jug or water cooler easily accessible for other staff and patients.
If you are on shift it can sometimes be difficult to remember to drink. Water bottles with hourly drink markers can be a great help with keeping you hydrated. You can buy bottles with these markers, or alternatively you can create markers on a bottle you already have.
- Cut out the caffeine
Caffeine can have a diuretic effect. This means it increases water loss, contributes to dehydration and can really have a negative impact on your health in hot weather. Try to stick to drinking water and squash. Alternatively, sports drinks that are labelled as aiding hydration can be good if you need a little more energy.
- Stay out of the sun
Try to avoid going out between 11-3 as this is the hottest part of the day and the most likely time for you to get heat stroke. If you do have to go out then remember to drink lots of water before you leave and when you get back to ensure you stay hydrated.
- Take a break
Your breaks are more important than ever. Make sure to take the time to sit down and stop. Try to sit somewhere cool and well ventilated (so no, not standing by the open fridge!). If possible go out or sit by an open window to get fresh air. This will help you to feel more awake and productive when you get back to work.
- Quick cooling
A top tip several people suggested was to run your wrists under cold water for 30 seconds each wrist. So does this really work? Believe it or not, it can help. The cold water will lower the temperature of the blood in your wrists and arms which will then recirculate into the rest of the body and help to cool you down. Try to do this when you have a moment or when washing your hands to help keep up the cooling effect.
Can you think of any other tips that you use to stay cool in hot weather? Let us know in the comments below.
For further information on looking after yourself in hot weather check out the NHS Heatwave Guidance.
If you’re a nurse looking for flexible work that fits around your current commitments then please check out the bank nursing opportunities we have available near you.