Canvassing in Hot Weather

The campaign staff may be encouraging you to canvass because it's important.  And you may be excited to go out and canvass...

But we don't want you to hurt yourself.

It is possible to get heat prostration or heat stroke by doing physical exercise in hot weather -- ESPECIALLY IF YOUR BODY ISN'T USED TO IT.  Your body will acclimate over time, but it is really important not to overexert the first time out (voice of experience here).  These conditions are dangerous.

Some recommendations:

  1. If you have a medical condition that doesn't do well with exercise, stay home and make phone calls.
  2. Take a cell phone so you can call for help.
  3. Don't try to push beyond your limits.  Stop when you get overheated or tired.  One loses mental awareness when these conditions get bad -- if you push too hard you might not know enough to stop.
  4. Don't stray too far from your car (or other home base) until you know your limits. It's OK to move the car around the area you are canvassing.  You don't want to suddenly discover you need to stop when you are 1/4 mile from your car!
  5. Bring a shoulder bag or knapsack and carry lots of fluids with you -- at least a full size bottle of water for every hour.  If you are drinking a lot of water, you also need to worry about electrolyte (salt) balance:  People who work outside use salt tablets ("thermotabs" is a name brand) along with water to replace the salt lost with sweat.  Some sports drinks also contain electrolytes, but read the labels, because some of them are just sugar drinks marketed as sport drinks (and they all contain sugar, which may not be good for you).
  6. Take frequent breaks in the shade.
  7. Wear sunscreen.