- Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung, and colon.
- Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
Those facts from The Skin Cancer Foundation are pretty eye-opening, especially when you have a job that requires so much time in the sun. And it’s not just your skin that’s at stake. As a lawn care professional, constant sun exposure is unavoidable. When you’re outdoors between 10am-2pm, you’re exposed to 2/3 of the day’s UV rays. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to guard yourself against the sun’s damaging effects.
- Lather Up: Wear broad spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15. Make sure to check the expiration date and store it in a cool location. Put sunscreen on 30 minutes before going into the sun so it has time to be absorbed. Apply liberally and get help for hard-to-reach places like your back. Invest in a sunscreen stick for your lips, which are prone to burning. Reapply every two hours, and even more often when you’re sweating.
- Seek Shade: Eat lunch and take any breaks in a shady location or indoors if possible.
- Clothing: Wear long sleeves whenever you can. Darker-colored, tightly woven fabrics offer the most sun protection; unfortunately, they can also be the warmest.
- Headwear: Don’t forget your head! Wear a wide-brimmed hat that offers shade for your face, ears, and neck. If you’re wearing a baseball cap, remember to apply sunscreen to your ears.
- Skin Checks: Check your body regularly for any abnormal spots or growths. If you notice anything unusual, have it checked by a dermatologist immediately. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
- Eyewear: Your eyes need sun protection, Sunglasses can reduce the risk of cataracts as well as guard the sensitive skin around your eyes. Wear glasses that offer UVA and UVB ray protection.
- Hydrate: If you’re thirsty, you’re already becoming dehydrated. Drink water or sports drinks throughout the day to replace the water you’re losing as sweat. Don’t confuse sports drinks with energy drinks. Your body needs electrolytes, not caffeine.
Take these precautions year-round. The sun can do ample damage even on cool, cloudy days. Follow these sun safety tips each day so you can work confidently knowing you’ve done your part to protect your body.