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Avoiding Sun Hazards while Gardening

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Tan Safari Pith HelmetWhile the summer means vacations, fresh flowers and delicious vegetables from your garden, it also comes with intense sunlight, heat and high humidity. If you are planning to do work in your garden this summer you have to prepare in order to avoid complications that arise with exposure to the sun. Dehydration, sub burn and sun stroke are just a few of the hazards that exist when you spend too much time in the hot summer sun.

Since most gardening is done during the morning and afternoon hours, it is important to protect your skin from the harsh UV rays. Here are a few tips to avoid succumbing to sun hazards.

Sunscreen: Even if you have the type of skin that tans, it is very important to use sunscreen with an SPF + of 30 or 50. The damage to the ozone layer is so great that even people with dark skin are at risk for skin cancer. Before you go out to garden, liberally apply sunscreen to any area of skin that will be exposed, especially your neck, arms, nose, ears and forehead. Try to apply the sunscreen a good 30 minutes prior to heading outside and re-apply as needed, especially if you are perspiring.

Wide Brim Hats: One of the worst places to get a sun burn is on top of your head. Going outside to garden for several hours without a hat is dangerous and most experts recommend wearing a wide brimmed hat that will fully block out the sun's rays. If you don't have a specially made garden hat consider a straw hat, baseball cap or bandana. If the brim isn't wide enough, apply sunscreen to your neck and face to cover areas of skin that will be exposed.

Have Plenty of Water: Being out in the sun and working hard can lead to dehydration. It is very important that you have plenty of fresh, cold water on hand to keep your body hydrated. Without it you will quickly feel fatigued and if you are not careful may even become dizzy and possibly pass out from the heat. Keep a canteen or water bottle in the shade and drink from it often to keep your body hydrated.

Take Breaks: Working straight though for several hours on really hot summer days is just asking for trouble. Remember, the sun is at its strongest between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm so schedule your work flow with this in mind. Remind yourself to take breaks for 15 minutes every hour so you can get out of the sun, splash cold water on your face and drink plenty of water.

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