Working in Warm Temperatures: Watch Yourself in the Sun

Watch Yourself in the SunIt won’t be too much longer before the gloriously hot days of summer make the Calgary winter and spring a distant memory. At Mirage Landscaping of Calgary, your premiere one stop source for commercial or residential full service landscaping design, construction, and maintenance, we too look forward to these days.

However, as veterans of innumerable summer days, we have to caution or clients that for all of the benefits the sunlight and heat brings to both our souls and to our gardens, it is prudent to be cautious while working in these conditions. The sun poses an array of hazards that the prudent weekend warrior would be wise to consider, whether at work in the yard or at play on the water.

Heat and Overexposure—The Immediate Threats

Somewhere in North America, every year, someone dies or is permanently impaired by heat stroke. These deaths and injuries are completely avoidable, but not if you don’t know the signs.

The symptoms of heat related stress progress from the fairly benign to the extremely serious. Therefore, if you are outdoors, whether you are exerting yourself or not, and experiencing the following symptoms, you need to get yourself, or the afflicted person, out of the heat immediately and begin addressing them.

Heat Stress

  • Muscle cramping
  • Excess sweating
  • Irritability

Heat Exhaustion

  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Weakness
  • Clammy skin

Heat Stroke

  • Flushed and dry skin
  • Severe headache
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Loss of consciousness

Cancer and Cataracts — The Long Term Threat

Malignant melanoma is one of the most common cancers afflicting Canadians. Long term exposure to UV is also one of the leading causes of chronic damage to the lenses of the eyes.

As you age, take a regular inventory of all of the skin features on your body, moles, blemishes, birthmarks and the like, and track them for any changes. Malignant melanoma, if caught early, is one of the most curable forms of cancer. Unfortunately, if not caught soon enough, melanoma is also one of the most aggressively spreading cancers there is too, so remain vigilant with the aid of your doctor.

Dress For Summertime Success

The key to avoiding both acute problems, like heat stroke, and chronic problems, like deteriorating vision or skin cancers, is the prevention of radiation and heat stressors while you work or play in the sun.

Your first line of defense is the regular intake of water. Not coffee, not cola, not beer, just water. When working in the heat you want to avoid taking in caffeine and alcohol as they both constrict your blood vessels, which makes your body cooling less efficient, and they both increase your urination frequency, dehydrating you. 

Your second line of defense is properly dressing yourself against the effects of heat, humidity, and sunlight. Even when it is overcast, you are under threat of developing sunburn from the UV radiation given off by the sun. The best strategy is to cover exposed skin with fabric.

It is advisable to wear a broad brimmed and well-ventilated hat to protect the sensitive skin on your ears and the back of your neck. A good hat also shades your face from the sun. A loose and long sleeved cotton shirt will also provide an effective sunblock.

However, it isn’t realistic to expect most folks to be clothed head to toe to work outside. At the minimum, if you insist on working outside in little more than shorts and a tee shirt, you should sport some sort of hat, effective sunglasses and sun screen with a SPF factor of at least 30. Be aware that many sunscreens will wear or wash off when they get wet or are sweated upon. Liberally reapply your sunscreen every half hour to an hour, based upon your level of exertion.

The Best Strategy — Contact Mirage Landscaping

If you are going to expose yourself to the heat and the strong sunlight of summer, why not reserve your exposure for recreation? Putting up a retaining wall, digging out all of the weeds on your property, or mowing vast amounts of grass, even on a riding mower, are all sun exposure risks you could, in good conscience, outsource to us

We work in the heat, humidity, and sunlight for a living. We know how to take care of ourselves under even the most extreme conditions. Contact us for a free quote.


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