Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. This highlights the importance of sun safety for everyone, but most especially for farmers who get more than their fair share of sun exposure. The dire effects of cumulative sun exposure may be avoided by upholding farmers’ sun safety through protective measures. So, make sure to take note of the following tips before heading out onto the fields.
1. Apply sunscreen religiously.
Sunscreen provides a good foundation against sun damage as it can be used all over the face and body. Apply at least an SPF 30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB radiation. Additionally, make sure to re-apply every two hours or as instructed by the manufacturer. This is crucial especially if you’ll be under the sun for prolonged periods of time.
2. Use proper clothing for farmers’ sun safety.
We know that wearing long-sleeved shirts and thick jeans may be uncomfortable during hot days, but trading them in for shorts and T-shirts will put you at a higher risk of skin cancer.
Clothing helps prevent UV rays from reach your skin. Thicker, tightly-woven fabrics are preferred, as well as darker clothing as they absorb UV rays much better.
3. Wear hats and sunglasses.
Clothing and sunscreen will do a lot to protect your body from the sun, but your face needs the same level of defense. This is where hats and sunglasses come in, as they shield your eyes, face, scalp, and neck from the sun’s rays.
When shopping for a hat, choose something that’s as wide-brimmed as comfortably possible to maximize protection. Also, go for a style that will stay securely while you’re wearing it so you’re not tempted to remove it altogether.
4. Minimize sun exposure.
The most effective way to prevent sun damage is to avoid the sun. While this may not be totally possible for farmers, it’s recommended that you at least minimize sun exposure during the critical hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The sun’s UV rays are the strongest during these hours, so working earlier in the morning or late in the afternoon is advised.
Getting exposed to the sun’s rays is pretty much a given in the life of a farmer. However, this doesn’t mean that you’re totally powerless against sun damage. The tips above may require more prep time in the morning, but these safety measures will definitely pay off. Don’t fall victim to skin cancer!