THE FIRST DAY OF SUMMER on June 21 had us thinking about a few things here at the Winter Haven offices of Tucker Paving, Inc. — three of them fun and one potentially life saving.

The first thing, in a word-association-type moment, was vacations — family vacations mostly during the break from school. According to pre-summer news release from AAA, “The old school family road trip (79 percent) and visits to national parks (51 percent) and theme parks (40 percent) remain the most popular types of vacations for families planning to travel this year.”

Just the word “summer” also had us thinking about beaches — beautiful Florida beaches, in particular. Did you know that Florida has 1,197 miles of coastline and 663 miles of beaches? (On a side note, Florida beaches are home to 80 percent of all the loggerhead turtles in the United States.)

This will date some of us at Tucker, but summer also had us recalling the tune and words to a couple of hit pop/rock songs from the 1960s. You might remember “Summer in the City” (1966) by the Lovin’ Spoonful (you know, “Hot town, summer in the city / Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty. / …”) and “Summertime Summertime” (1958 and 1962) by The Jamies (“It’s summertime, summertime / Sum-sum-summertime / …”) Try now getting those songs out of your head!

Most importantly, summertime had us thinking about the need for proper hydration (water or other suitable liquid intake) by anyone who does a lot of working and playing in the outdoor summer heat. Most of our Tucker Paving team members do their excellent work in the great outdoors — and with the kind of job schedule we have, there’s no break in the jobs during the hottest months of the year in Central Florida.

Below are six important things to note about good and proper hydration. You can learn so much more online just by doing an Internet search for “staying hydrated in the summer” or “Florida proper hydration.”

1. The human body requires fluid to control temperature and maintain muscle function. In hot, hard-working conditions, workers can lose up to 1.5 liters of water each hour in the form of sweat.

2. Replacing body fluids lost during sweating is the single most important way to control heat stress and keep workers — and the outdoor playful — comfortable, productive, alert, and safe.

3. Hydration experts from leading occupational safety organizations recommend drinking 5 to 7 ounces of fluids every 15 to 20 minutes — not just during rest breaks — to stay sufficiently hydrated and maintain a safe core body temperature.

4. Drink before, during, and after physical labor to replace body fluid lost in sweating.

5. By the time you are thirsty, you are already about 2 percent dehydrated. Once you are dehydrated, it’s difficult to make up for that lost hydration.

6. Keep individual containers of cool (not necessarily cold) and clean water within easy reach at all times. Try carbohydrate/electrolyte drinks to help avoid heat cramps that can occur up to several hours after working.

Source: EHSToday (