Beyond the Barn: Sun Safety Still Important on Shorter Days
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States.” Most cases are caused by exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light.
Although it may be tempting to put that bottle of sunscreen at the back of the shelf as fall approaches, you still need to protect yourself from the harmful rays. The CDC suggests you first check the UV Index shared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as you schedule time outdoors. Obviously, in farming, you don’t often get to choose which days you’re outside, so the following items can help block the harmful UV rays:
- Sunscreen: Apply a thick layer of sunscreen to any exposed skin, including those hard-to-reach places, even on cool or cloudy days. The CDC recommends an SPF of at least 15; an SPF 30 sunscreen will provide 97 percent protection. Reapply after two hours or more frequently if you are sweating.
- Long-sleeved shirts and long pants: Woven fabrics offer the best protection. Dry and dark fabrics may be more effective in blocking UV rays than wet and light fabrics. If the weather is simply too hot to wear these items, frequently apply sunscreen to exposed skin.
- Hats: Baseball caps are great, but they only protect your face. Either apply sunscreen to your ears and the back of your neck, or choose a wide-brim hat made of woven fabric to protect these other areas.
- Sunglasses: Protect your eyes as well by wearing sunglasses. This reduces the risk of cataracts and protects the tender skin around the eyes from sun exposure. Choose glasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
- Shade: Don’t underestimate the value of umbrellas, cabbed tractors, trees or other shelters when you need relief from the sun.
The days are getting shorter, but protection from the sun is no less important. Stay safe while you put in long hours this fall.
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