One of the major dangers gardeners and lawn workers will face over the summer comes from having to work outside in the heat and sun. Overheating and overexposure can cause both short- and long-term problems as far as health goes. Heat can cause dehydration and heat stroke, while the sun itself can cause sunburn and skin cancer. You need to ensure that you are well protected from heat and sun when you venture out into the yard for long periods of time. Here are some key points to remember next time you head out, to keep the heat and sun from giving you problems.
The first key to not allowing the heat to get to you is to make sure you are properly hydrated even before you step outside. Get plenty of water inside you, and make sure you have plenty on hand to sip on throughout the day.
Dress the Part
Dressing for ventilation and dressing for safety is a fine line – long pants are usually necessary to wear in the garden, but they can also trap heat. Find loose-fitting pants that will allow air to flow through. There are also pants out there with mesh netting in the crotch and pocket areas that provide for extra air inlets to further promote airflow – they may be worth investing in if you plan on sending a lot of hours in the garden.
You can also use clothing to help block the sun. Hats with a wide brim that runs all around the hat are great for keeping the suns rays off of your neck and face. They also can do a good job of trapping sweat and keeping it out of your eyes.
Always Use Sunscreen
Even on slightly overcast days, you can get a lot of sun if you are outside for extended periods. Apply sunscreen liberally and often to protect against the harmful effects of the sun. Aside from it making you warm, the sun can also cause diseases including cancer in large doses. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more, and if you’re sweating, make sure you reapply the sunscreen every 90 minutes or so.
Take a break and get under cover for at least five to ten minutes every hour in the heat. This time off will give your body the chance to bring down its core temperature. Take the time to lay down, maybe use cool water to wipe down, and loosen your clothing for a little bit. This pause every so often may make your day a little longer, but it will make sure that you can last the day.
Recognize the Signs
You need to realize when it is time to get out f the sun for good for the day. Your body will send you signals before it gets dire – you may get lightheaded, feel dizzy, or have a rapid pulse. Any of these feelings indicates that you need to get out of the heat and sun immediately, and cool off. Ignoring these symptoms will lead to more severe signs, and will put you in danger of succumbing to heatstroke.
So be careful and take some of these precautions next time you’re working outside. This will help you to avoid heat- and sun-related issues that could put you under the weather for days, or have life-long effects.