As a farmer, job safety should always be your first priority. In the summer specifically, one of your top concerns should be preventing heat exhaustion and heatstroke. When your body starts to overheat and dehydrate, it can enter a state of heat exhaustion. If you’re in that state for too long, it can turn into heatstroke, which is a medical emergency.
Let’s take a look at the signs of heat illness, how you can treat it, and how you can avoid it.
What are the symptoms of heat-related illness?
Heat exhaustion and heatstroke produce similar symptoms, but there is some distinction between the two. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- Heavy sweating
- Muscle cramps
- Pale/clammy skin
- Fast pulse and/or breathing
If heat exhaustion progresses to heatstroke, you’ll begin to experience or see:
- No sweating, despite hot temperature
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of consciousness
What should I do if I have or see someone with these symptoms?
If you or someone you’re working with is showing symptoms of heat exhaustion, move to a cool place immediately. Drink plenty of water and remove extra clothing layers. Try to cool the skin with fans, air conditioning, and cool compresses.
If your symptoms point toward heatstroke, or you don’t feel better after 30 minutes of taking the steps above, call 911 immediately and continue trying to cool down.
How can I prevent heat illness when working in the field?
Fortunately, there are plenty of steps farmers can take to avoid heat exhaustion and heat illness on those hot and humid days in the field. They include:
- Drink water constantly—one cup for every 15-30 minutes in the heat. Avoid alcoholic, sugary, and caffeinated drinks, which can dehydrate you further.
- Take frequent breaks somewhere cool, such as your air-conditioned truck cab or inside a building. This would be a good time to have a snack or eat a meal to keep your energy and electrolytes up.
- Dress in loose, light-colored clothing. Wear a hat and use sunblock for UV ray protection.
- Try to plan tasks that require the most exertion for early in the morning or later in the evening, when the temperature is cooler.
Another thing you can do to prevent heat illness as a farmer is invest in equipment that will make your job easier and save you time out in the field. At L&M Manufacturing, we can provide you with reliable, quality products that do just that. Our Drip-Well system, for example, will keep your turbine pumps well-lubricated automatically, reducing the number of trips you have to make to the field.
Contact us today to learn more about the wide range of agricultural products and irrigation equipment we offer to help you!