Protect yourself from the sun while gardening | Home & Garden
From Larry Caplan, Extension Educator -- Horticulture for the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, Vanderburgh County---
We are getting an early start on summer. I just want to remind you that if you are going to be working in the yard/garden/farm, that you protect yourself from the sun. Not only can you receive a painful sunburn, but there is a chance of developing skin cancer (melanoma).
Cover your skin with gloves, a hat with ear and neck protection, long sleeves, and pants. Button up the neck of long sleeve shirts. Light cotton reflects heat and is cooler for working outdoors.
Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15-50 on all exposed skin. Remember that sunscreen can be sweated off, so be sure to reapply it every hour or so.
More info: Gardening and Your Health: Sunburn and Skin Cancer (Virginia): http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/426/426-063/426-063.html
Where possible, do your gardening in the mornings before 10:00, or in the early evening. Not only will the sun be less powerful, but ozone will also be at lower levels.
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of cool water or other liquids without alcohol or caffeine. Avoid over-eating foods high in protein, which increase metabolic heat and water loss in your body. Do not take salt tablets unless a doctor tells you. Take frequent breaks in the shade or air conditioning, and otherwise try not to over-exert yourself in the heat.
Air pollution can be a problem for people with respiratory problems, like asthma or emphysema. Even healthy adults can have problems if ozone levels are high. Ozone is mostly a problem on hot, sunny days when the air is stagnant, especially from noon to 4:00. Pay attention to air quality reports on the news. You can also check for air quality alerts, and even sign up for notifications, by visiting the Evansville EPA website: http://www.evansvillegov.org/Index.aspx?page=518 .