Wow it’s been hot lately ! Temperatures have reached 30c quite a few times in the last 10 days or so and I have found myself worrying:
My first thoughts were for our children – Did they have sunscreen? A hat? Water bottles for school? Were they cool enough (in the cold sense not the “hey dude” sense!)? Were they drinking enough?
My thoughts then turned to our dog – Was it ok to take him out? Should I just do very early and very late walks? Is his water bowl full? Is the kitchen too hot if I pop out for an hour? Is the tarmac to hot for his paws?
And then this morning I was on an early shift and I thought about the people I care for – Are they getting enough fluids? What about that lady on the high dose of furosemide? What about the gentleman who is susceptible to UTI’s? Is that lady confused because she’s dehydrated? Does that lady have a wide brimmed hat to go outside in? How can we cool bedrooms down? Do we have enough ice lollies for people today? How can we encourage everyone to drink more?
Eventually, this evening, whilst walking the dog (in the shady woodland) my thoughts turned to me – Was that headache I took paracetamol for at break time a dehydration headache?
I am pretty sure that I am not unusual in the sense that I worry about others, put the people I care for, the children and even the dog before my own needs …. it seems to be something we do in nursing… however perhaps we need to think again:
The National Hydration Council (yes there is such a thing!) state the facts in simple terms:
- The recommended daily intake of fluids for men should be 2.5 litres and for women 2 litres
- When performing physical work,sweat output often exceeds water intake, producing a body water deficit or dehydration
- Dehydration can adversely affect worker productivity, safety, and morale.
There is also evidence that is specific to healthcare workers: Hydration amongst doctors and nurses on call (El-Shakawry 2016) is a study that looked at the scale and impact of dehydration on doctors and nurses. The study found “Thirty-six percent of participants were dehydrated at the start of the shift and 45% were dehydrated at the end of their shift” and “Single number and five-letter Sternberg short-term memory tests were significantly impaired in dehydrated participants”
So what does all this mean in practical terms for us as nurses …. it means we should look after ourselves better! A melting nurse, who is hot, sweaty and dehydrated is of no use to the people we care for, their children or even the dog !
The moral of this tale (yes I will put this in shouty capitals!) ….. NURSES LOOK AFTER YOURSELVES IN THIS HOT WEATHER !!