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Cold weather dehydration: The safety hazard that needs attention

cold water dehydration hazard photo

Cold weather dehydration: The safety hazard that needs attention.

Because of the nature of cold weather that makes people feel less thirsty, it often makes them dehydrated at the end of the day. So, people must consciously try to stay hydrated during this period. 

Dehydration has always been a hazard prevalent in the summertime, but people often neglect that cold weather can present such serious risks, too. 

Here in this article, we will look at how dehydration occurs in cold weather and how to prevent it. 

Cold weather dehydration.

During a hot day, people’s bodies lose water through sweat on their skin, but in cold weather, the sweat dries up immediately and doesn’t accumulate on the skin, unlike what we have on a hot day. So, with this, the fluid loss during the cold day is less obvious.

In reality, your body loses more water during cold weather than on a hot day. This can be seen by looking at the visible breath in the cold air. 

The cold weather will also make your body unable to detect thirst, which means that most people drink less water when it is cold. Your urine output increases as the cold moves blood and other bodily fluids from your arms and legs to your core.

Most workers in cold conditions for less than 2 hours are at risk of less dehydration, but those who spend most of their time in the cold with high-intensity jobs are at much risk of dehydration. 

Occupations with a high risk of dehydration during the cold weather.

Most occupations, including winter construction, snow removal, cold storage, and food preparation and processing, tend to be at high risk of dehydration during the cold weather. 

Signs and symptoms of mild to moderate cold water dehydration

  • Increased thirst.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Dry skin.
  • Fatigue.
  • Mood swings.
  • Darker urine or reduction in urine output.
  • Fainting or dizziness.

Signs and symptoms of severe cold water dehydration in the body.

  • Amber urine or Deep Yellow urine.
  • Fever.
  • Shock.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Poor skin elasticity.
  • Dizziness.
  • No urine output or decreased urine output.
  • Poor Skin elasticity.

How to address the risk of cold weather dehydration.

1. Drink lots of water.

It is good that you drink lots of water in cold weather. You can even mix it with beverages, so make sure that you take regular sips to stay hydrated. Intake of 3 to 6 quarts of fluids daily is recommended, but individual differences may affect this figure. Such factors include the person’s age, sex, temperature, medical conditions, etc. You can also mix it with fruit and vegetables when eating because it is not just water that is counted as fluid. 

2. Ensure that your clothing is suitable for the cold weather.

When you are wet, your body loses heat more quickly, so you must wear the right dress to retain your body temperature and clothes that you can easily take off or on as you get warmer or colder.

3. Engage in frequent work breaks.

Frequent breaks will assist you in getting enough time to take fluids and beverages. Water and beverages are a better option for you. 

4. Educate other workers.

Continually educate the workers on the need to take enough water in cold weather. Ensure that they know there are risks involved in dehydration because most of them may need help understanding this as a problem. The training should be rich enough to contain the signs and symptoms of dehydration during cold weather, how cold weather dehydration happens and ways to reduce the risk. 


Dehydration, whether in hot or cold weather, is a workplace risk to workers. The body needs sufficient fluid to perform at its best. The employer should do enough to educate the workers on what to do to prevent them from getting harmed while they are at work. Employers can go a long way to provide enough water facilities where needed and ensure that the workers are not injured at the cause of their work.


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