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Tips for farming in the summer heat

Aug 11, 2017, 12:09 PM

When it comes to America’s weather extremes, the big disasters tend to get most of the attention. While tornadoes and hurricanes cause their fair share of fatalities, there’s a silent killer topping the charts for weather-related deaths in the U.S.: heat. While there’s no avoiding the sun out on your Mississippi or Arkansas farm, there are some ways you can protect yourself from its potentially harmful effects. Take a look at these five heat safety tips next time you’re out in the field on a hot summer day:

1. Stay Hydrated

One of the most beneficial things you can do to help your body battle the summer heat is to keep it hydrated. Your body rapidly loses water when exposed to heat. When too much of this essential hydration is lost, the body falls prey to life-threatening effects like heat stroke. Fortunately, these consequences are avoidable with proper hydration.

  • For daily water intake, the Institute of Medicine recommends 13 cups for men and 9 cups for women. Keep in mind, you may need more in the heat.
  • Drink fluids consistently throughout the day, not only when you begin to feel thirsty.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and excess sugar in beverages.

2. Stay Cool

While staying in the shade is the only way to entirely block the sun’s rays, there are some preventative measures you can take to keep your body cool out in the field.

  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitted clothing.
  • Choose lighter colors over darker colors -- while dark colors absorb the sun’s rays, light colors reflect them.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Take regular breaks in the shade, especially between 10am and 4pm, when the sun’s rays are at their peak.

3. Protect Yourself

Sunburns are the worst. Not only are they painful, the damage they cause to skin cells increases the risk for skin cancer. Luckily, with proper protection, you can keep your skin cells happy and healthy while still enjoying the summer sun.

  • Wear sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher, protects against both UVA and UVB rays, and is water resistant.
  • Other AAD recommendations: Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside, then reapply every 2 hours or immediately after sweating or swimming.
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses.
  • Again, take breaks from harsh UV rays in a shaded area.

5. Pay Attention to your Body

If it seems like your body is trying to tell you something, it probably is. Be aware of these signs of heat exhaustion:

  • Confusion
  • Dark-colored urine (a sign of dehydration)
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle or abdominal cramps
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Pale skin
  • Profuse sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat

Next time you’re out on the farm on a hot summer day, stay safe from the heat with these preventative tips. We can’t stop the sun from shining, but we can try to minimize its harmful effects. The Mississippi Ag and Arkansas Ag team can help get you the equipment you need to keep you safe in the sun. Give us a call today for us to guide you to the right piece of John Deere equipment to make farming this summer a breeze! (662) 314-9078

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