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Kansas 4-H Tip Sheet

July 15, 2020

Tuesday Health & Wellness Tidbits – from your Rural Stress & Resiliency Team

Submitted by Tawnie L Larson

Woman Wearing Cooling Vest

Staying Healthy in the Elements

People that work in agriculture are faced with many challenges, including working in extreme weather conditions. Here are some tips to help those that work outdoors stay healthy in the heat.

Hot Weather Tips

  • Dress lightly. Lightweight, long-sleeved, light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight and helps the body maintain normal temperatures. Clothing is available that features an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) that blocks ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) light.

  • When possible, strenuous work should be scheduled early in the day. The hottest hours of the day are between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

  • Use a cooling vest. Vest systems employ ice or gel packs as the cooling agent and include many different types of vest materials. Circulator, evaporative, and phase change are the three main types of systems; the user should choose a vest that is suitable for the situation.

  • Take short, frequent breaks in a shaded or cool area to allow the body time to reduce its temperature.

  • Wear sunscreen of at least 15 SPF. Sunburn makes reducing body temperature more difficult. If working outdoors with a sunburn, wear clothing that protects skin — tightly-woven fabrics work best.


  • Water is used to help maintain body temperature, so not drinking enough fluids can cause core temperature to rise and make it difficult to cool off in the heat.

  • It is recommended to consume at least 1 cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes during moderate activity in moderate conditions. Remember to drink water before becoming thirsty to maintain good hydration.

  • If dehydrated, consuming large amounts of water in one sitting may have risks. Sodium in the body may become diluted, causing cells to swell. This swelling could cause health problems from mild to life-threatening.

  • An average daily water intake of 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for woman is recommended. This may vary depending on activity, health, climate and pregnancy status.

Kansas State University Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering: John Slocombe, Ph.D., Professor, Project Director, Shelby Berens, Agricultural Communications and Journalism, Student, Tawnie Larson, Project Coordinator: Kansas State University Department of Agronomy: Mary Knapp, Service Climatologist, Weather Data Library; The National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes: Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. (Feb. 11, 2014)

Contact Kansas AgrAbility, www.agrability.ksu.edu , 1-800-KAN DO IT (1-800-526-3648).
Modified from KSRE Bookstore MF3481 | February 2020