Protect Your Family from Sun Damage

Guest Blog from Farm Safety For Just Kids

With unseasonably cool temperatures persisting throughout the spring, many farmers were hoping for heat units to aid in plant development.  The warm sun has a major impact on crop growth, but the heat of the day can make dangerous working conditions for people.

Farm workers are especially vulnerable to heat exposure.  When the body becomes overheated, workers become weak and tire more quickly.  Too much heat can also cause workers to become less alert, which is particularly dangerous if they’re operating farm equipment.

It’s important for farmers to be aware of the three main phases associated with heat illness:

  1. Dehydration – results when the body isn’t taking in enough liquids.  Symptoms include fatigue, thirst, dry mouth and sapped energy.  Cramping may also occur in the legs and abdomen.
  2. Heat exhaustion – occurs when the body loses too much water and salt.  Symptoms include excessive sweating, extreme fatigue, clammy skin, dizziness or confusion, nausea, as well as fast, shallow breathing.
  3. Heat stroke – occurs when internal temps rise rapidly and the body is unable to cool down.  Symptoms may include profuse sweating, chills, throbbing headache, poor coordination, slurred speech, vomiting, hallucinations, fainting or collapse.

Repeated exposure to the sun can cause premature aging, eye damage and even cancer.  Damage takes place over time, so it’s important to encourage protection at a young age.  To limit exposure and prevent long-term damage:

  • Avoid the sun during peak hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Wear hats with wide brims that cover the face, neck and ears.
  • Cover as much of your body as possible with light clothing.
  • Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and reapply often.
  • Wear sunglasses rated to filter out UV rays.

Research shows a link between sunburns in children and an increased risk of melanoma and skin cancer later in life.  Help protect the future of agriculture by protecting the next generation of farmers and ranchers!  Click here for more tips on how to keep your children safe in the sun.