July is underway, which means brighter sun, higher humidity, and hotter temperatures. Working as a letter carrier is a tough job under normal conditions, but it becomes even more challenging during extreme weather, including the summer sun and heat. Not only is it a challenge, it can also be extremely dangerous if you don’t take the proper precautions. Luckily we’ve put together this helpful guide to keep you as cool as possible this summer.
Always make sure to dress correctly for the weather. Lightly colored and lightweight clothing should be worn at all times. Hats are great for keeping the sun off your head and neck.
Keep hydrated. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how easy it is to become dehydrated in the heat. Drink before, during, and after your shift. Freeze water bottles the night before so you’ll have a large supply of cold water throughout the day.
Keep in the shade as much as possible. Direct sunlight makes a bigger difference than you would think. If you run into customers along your route you may even ask if you can cut through their yards to stick to the shaded areas.
Keep a small fan in your truck if your vehicle doesn’t have air conditioning. To cool off further, use some water to get your face and neck damp before sitting in front of the fan.
Invest in some specialty items that can help you stay cool such as a neck cooling wrap. You can freeze these items overnight then keep them wrapped around your head or neck for comfort.
Fill a spray bottle with cold water and spray yourself with it throughout your shift. If you can re-fill it do so, but make sure it’s cold water to get the full effects.
During your lunch break get inside somewhere that has air conditioning for a longer cool off. This can help you get through the last few hours of your shift.
If you have long hair be sure to tie it up. Hair resting against the back of your neck can make you feel significantly hotter.
Don’t restrict a fan to your truck; bring a portable one on your route! This is particularly helpful on days without wind.
Try to have a positive attitude. It can be tough when you’re stuck out in the boiling heat, but a change in attitude can really make a difference. Turn it into a joke. It won’t change the temperature, but it can make it more bearable.
In addition to keeping cool, you also have to keep track of your body while in the sun. Heat stress and heat stroke are very real problems that you need to keep an eye on. If you begin experiencing headaches, dizziness, nausea, confusion, fatigue, or muscle cramps, you need to seek assistance right away. Call your supervisor or, if appropriate, 911. Don’t take a risk when it comes to your health, as heat related illness can kill you. If caught early enough you may not need medical attention. Stop activity, move to a cool location, and drink water or sports drinks. If symptoms do not improve, you will need to seek medical attention.
Good luck out there this summer!