Rural Lifestyle

Safety : Take precautions when working in the heat

Lisa Washburn, associate professor-health for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said one important factor in outdoor safety is staying hydrated when heat indexes are high.



“Drink more fluids, regardless of activity. Don’t wait to feel thirsty to drink,” Washburn said. “It’s easier to become dehydrated in temperatures 90 degrees or higher. A good rule of thumb is to drink a quart of fluids an hour if you are outside on high heat index days.”




Protection from harsh sun rays and skin cancer prevention should be priorities this summer as well, and Washburn suggested some tips for navigating the overwhelming selection of sunscreen on store shelves.



“Choose a sunscreen with a sun protection factor, or SPF, of 15 or higher,” she said. “If you have skin that burns easily, or a history of skin cancer, SPF 30 or higher is advised. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen. A broad spectrum product will protect from both UVA and UVB rays.”




Heat-related illnesses are a real danger for those outside during the summer months, so it’s important to recognize symptoms before it’s too late.



Heat-related illness symptoms

  1. Heat exhaustion symptoms include heavy sweating, paleness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, fainting, rapid breathing and a fast, weak pulse.
  2. Heat stroke symptoms include body temperatures above 103 degrees, red, hot and dry skin with no sweating, a rapid, strong pulse, dizziness, nausea, confusion and loss of consciousness.



Tamara Walkingstick, associate professor-forestry, said foresters and any outdoor workers should also be mindful of their surroundings this summer.



“Anyone spending time outdoors needs to take measures to avoid exposure to poison ivy, prevent ticks and watch out for snakes,” she said. 



University of Arkansas




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Terry Simmons