Avoid Heat Exhaustion on the Homestead
My husband and I admit to being weekend warriors when it comes to our new project – creating our homestead in Florida. Our normal work in summer involves sitting in front of a computer in an air conditioned room for most of the day.
One recent Sunday morning we headed out to our property, hoping to get some yard clean-up done while it wasn’t raining.
A few weeks earlier, we had contracted to have the trees from our future driveway and the footprint and immediate area of the house cut down. Now there were seven piles of tree remains to be handled.
The Right Tool for the Job
First, we bought a used chipper. We took it to a repair shop to get some needed maintenance, only to find out that it was 27 years old! Despite the company that originally manufactured it being out of business, two expert equipment mechanics and some new parts got it working fine.
We also rented a stump grinder, and we took the chipper and the grinder to our property. We arrived at about 11 AM on a day that would reach 94 degrees.
Read more: Overheated Ducks? No Problem!
Working in the Heat
The first hour and a half went by pretty fast. My husband manned the stump grinder and handled four or five stumps from about 1 inch to about 7 inches in diameter. That took care of the driveway.
In the meantime, I was working with the chipper. All it could do was shred the ends of anything over 1-1/2 inches. That meant that I had to lop off the branches that could fit in the chipper. Anything that was too big was laid aside to use in the dead hedge we are building.
Take Frequent Breaks
We took a break to get some water and sit down. After about 10 minutes, we started to go at it again.
This time we only lasted about an hour. We took a longer break, had more to drink and tried to get some more done. Each time we would start, the amount of work got shorter and the breaks got longer.
I felt really hot and my heart was beating faster than normal, even when I sat down in the shade. By about 3 PM we were both exhausted.
Know When to Stop
At this point, it was all we could do to put everything away and get the stump grinder back into the bed of the truck. My husband was drenched with sweat and dirty, so he changed before we left. I was sweaty and thought it best to change shirts. Even wearing a long sleeve shirt and hat my arms and face were both red — I was definitely overheated!
We went to a restaurant and I sat in the air conditioning, sipping water with lemon as my body cooled down. It took about half an hour to start feeling better. I had a light lunch with fruit and vegetables and then we were on the road back home.
The Facts About Heat Exhaustion
According to the WebMD website, “Heat Exhaustion” occurs after exposure to high temperatures and is often accompanied by dehydration. Actual heat exhaustion can include symptoms of headache, loss of consciousness, nausea, vomiting and muscle cramps.
Although we didn’t experience anything that severe, we would have if we had not stopped when we did. The website recommends exactly what we did – get out of the heat and into a cooler area to rest.
We decided that the next time we want to make a day of yard work we will do it in shorter stretches and take a long air-conditioned break in between. In terms of hydration, we have also found that drinking coconut water and eating watermelon are good for replenishing mineral salts that are lost due to sweating.
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