Whether temperatures climb above 90 degrees or remain relatively cool, it’s important that everyone in the farming community thinks about skin care this summer and protecting the body’s largest organ.  One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, and Melissa Ploeckelman with the National Farm Medicine Center says for farmers it’s incredibly important they think about sun safety.  She said producers spend many hours in the mid-day sun, when the rays are the most intense, which is a major risk factor for all skin cancers, including the most serious melanoma.

Ploeckelman acknowledged that many farmers don’t have time to visit their doctor, and even if they have time, many just don’t want to go.  She says that makes prevention key.  And she reminds farmers to slip, slop, slap, seek, and slide.

“Slip on a shirt.  I know a lot of farmers take their shirts off because it’s hot outside, but really a long sleeved shirt in the hottest part of the day when the sun’s rays are at the worst is so important.  Slop on the sunscreen.  I know not everyone likes it, it’s greasy, you feel all gross when you first put it on, but the truth is that can prevent skin cancer in the future.  And when you have to go in and get skin cancer removed, it takes time away from the farm.  So, slop on that sunscreen, and remember to use one tablespoon of sunscreen per large body part.  Slap on a hat.  A lot of farmers already wear a baseball cap, but the truth is a sun safe hat is more important.  A sun safe hat is a hat that has a brim of 4” all the way around their head.  Seek shade.  If farmers are in the sun for a really long time, especially from that noon to that 4 p.m. time period during the day, it’s important that they take a break and seek shade.  And finally, slide on those sunglasses.  It sounds crazy but you can actually also sunburn your eyes, so having those sunglasses on is very important.  So, always remember slip, slop, slap, seek and slide,” Ploeckelman added.

She stressed if you have any questions or concerns, contact your medical provider.

Click Here for tips on how to spot issues on your skin.

Click Here for additional tips and advice for the farming community.


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