Industry insights

Do Your Staff Use PPE? Make Sure You Keep Them Hydrated

By Matt Stimpson |  Published

For the majority of 2020, we’ve seen a massive increase in the number of staff wearing PPE during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The most apparent increase is clearly in the NHS and healthcare environments, but also in the hospitality and retail sectors too. But whatever sector your business is in, it’s vital to keep your staff hydrated when they’re using PPE for any length of time.

The effects of PPE

Though keeping all staff hydrated is essential when they’re wearing PPE, it’s often our frontline healthcare workers who run a higher risk of dehydration. That can be put down to a warm environment and air conditioning creating a dry atmosphere. But the number of miles walked during a shift and talking to patients can all play their part towards reduced hydration levels.

A report carried out by the Medical Protection Society in September 2019 called ‘Breaking the Burnout Cycle - Keeping Doctors and Patients Safe’ found that 40% of NHS doctors felt unable to take a break during the working day to eat and drink. Alongside other eye-opening stats, this can have a big impact on how NHS staff feel and perform during and after their shifts.

Completing a long and busy shift without adequate breaks is demanding enough, but wearing PPE for the entire period as well can greatly increase the risk of dehydration. While it can be difficult in an overworked environment, drinking water and taking regular breaks can both lead to increased levels of concentration while, at the same time, reducing tiredness.

Hydration tips

Just because some staff might not feel thirsty doesn’t necessarily mean dehydration hasn’t already started. So when your staff are wearing PPE for long periods, it’s important to get the message out there that staying hydrated is essential. Here are a few pointers on how best to make that happen:

  • Get hydrated before your shift. Drink plenty of water before leaving home or on your way into work
  • Make a point of drinking during shifts whenever you can, even if it’s just walking between wards
  • Try not to work through allotted breaks if possible. Food contains liquid and can boost liquid levels
  • Continue to rehydrate after your shift as well, but avoid caffeine and alcohol

The NHS recommends 6-8 glasses of fluid every day, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be plain water - it can include a mix of low-fat squash drinks, tea or coffee. But at the heart of it all is water and Thirsty Work try and make it as easy as possible for staff to hydrate on the go with our range of water coolers.

Stay hydrated with Thirsty Work

Our mains fed water coolers are as convenient as they are ideal for staff areas and canteens. Plumbed into your existing water supply, each cooler is fitted with a high-standard water filter to remove any impurities and deliver refreshingly cool or ambient, great-tasting water every time.

But for the ultimate in convenience, our bottled water coolers can be positioned almost anywhere. Perfect for busy or high-traffic areas, these floor standing or countertop dispensers are filled with our own pure Cornish spring water and will ensure staying hydrated is as quick and easy as possible. We can even supply accessories to convert any existing water dispenser into a touchless water dispenser to reduce contact.

With a full service and maintenance programme, together with automatic water and cup deliveries, we can take care of everything, so all you and your staff need to do is stay hydrated. Contact our customer service team on 01392 877 172 or email for a free quote or to start your free trial today