Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Beat the Heat by Knowing Your Limits

by Andy Schwab

When there is work to be done there is work to be done regardless of the weather. Often, the tasks that farmers and ranchers are faced with are pressing, time-sensitive, and rarely can be done from inside a climate-controlled room. Add in some unpredictable weather and challenging tasks can become downright difficult, not to mention unpleasant.  Help beat the heat with these summer safety reminders.

Water. Rest. Shade.

Prevention is the key to reducing heat-related illnesses. While it is not always possible to avoid working during the period of most intense heat during the day, there are steps that can be taken to make it more bearable.

  • Ensure an adequate supply of drinking water. Consider an electrolyte drink during periods of prolonged sweating but avoid drinks with a high sugar or caffeine content.
  • Drink before you are thirsty. A good rule of thumb, drink one cup of water every 15 minutes.
  • Wear loose-fitting light-colored clothing, a hat (wide-brimmed with a neck shield is ideal), sunscreen, and sunglasses.
  • Check the weather frequently as conditions can quickly become extreme.
  • Seek natural areas of shade or consider creating areas of shade where none exist and rest there frequently.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of heat related illness and take corrective action quickly.
    • Heat-related illnesses include heat rash, fainting, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
    • Heat stroke can be fatal if not treated – seek medical attention if you notice sudden onset of nausea, extremely elevated body temperature, confusion or anger, throbbing headache, rapid pulse, slurred speech, or loss of consciousness.

According to the CDC, ag workers are 20 times more likely to die of heat-related illnesses than the rest of the U.S. workforce. Adjust work as possible and set realistic pace expectations, no task is more important than your life.


MFBF – 2022

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