Not to state the obvious, but Alabama summers can get extremely hot. We know the searing heat and blistering sun aren’t fun for anyone, but there are some real risks involved to those working outdoors in these conditions. With May being Melanoma Awareness Month, we thought you should be aware of the dangers that come along with working outdoors in the extreme summer weather.
If you do plan to work outdoors during these upcoming months, it’s time to become aware of some of the risks and what you can do to protect yourself from the sun.
What are the risks?
The biggest risk you face working outdoors is the damage caused by the strong ultraviolet (UV) waves. UV waves are at their highest between 10am and 4pm, which, unfortunately, is the window of time many people plan to work outside.
One of the most common issues UV radiation can cause is skin cancer. Most skin cancer cells are a direct result of UV radiation, so securing your skin from too much sun is critical.
Another prevalent issue caused by lasting exposure to UV radiation is eye problems. Cataracts is the most common eye problem, as it can cause damage to your retinas and growths on your eye.
The high temperatures and humidity can also cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke include confusion, high body temperature, loss of consciousness and hot, dry skin.
Finally, over-exposure to UV radiation can interfere with your immune system greatly. These powerful rays can prevent proper functioning of the body’s immune system and weaken the skin’s natural defenses.
How can you protect yourself?
Avoid the hottest hours of the day
If possible, it is best to avoid working outdoors when the UV waves are the strongest—10am to 4pm.
When dealing with hot weather conditions, it is crucial to drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Drink cool water every 15 to 20 minutes to replace the fluid loss. It is best to avoid consuming beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol because these will dehydrate you.
Although covering up on a hot summer day is less than ideal, keeping your skin covered with long-sleeved shirts and long pants is the best way to protect yourself from the UV radiation. When you’re outside in the sun without a shirt or hat, the sun dries your sweat too rapidly and doesn’t allow your body to cool down. Loose-fitting clothes made of a light breathable fabric will help your body to keep cool. As for a hat, we recommend one with a wide brim.
Apply and reapply sunscreen
We can’t stress this one enough! Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 or more. Be sure to reapply every two hours. If you are sweating profusely you should re-apply more frequently. Even if the sunscreen is label water-resistant, it will still wear off! Don’t forget to protect the skin on your face, neck, ears, hands, and lips. This skin is extremely delicate and more susceptible to burn.
Know the environment
It is important to know that UV rays reflect off certain surfaces, such as sand, water, concrete and glass. If you are working near any of these surfaces, be aware that they add an additional risk to intense UV exposure and you should take extra precaution.
Don’t want to endure the heat but have outdoor projects crowding your to-do list? Leave it to the professionals! Give us a call today for a quote or fill out the form below to request a service online.