The summer heat is finally here in the Pacific Northwest.  And while that’s good news for area commodities, it can be a problem for farmers and ag workers.

Melissa Ploeckelman with the National Farm Medicine Center said the days are long, the sun is intense, which means the possibility of heat stress and heat stroke increases as the temperature goes up.  She said it’s important farmers and workers are constantly drinking water.

“We see a lot of farmers go out, they take a couple cans of soda with them, they take a big jug of coffee, the truth is they need to make sure they’re replenishing their bodies with water, in order to keep themselves hydrated, and prevent that heat illness or heat stroke.  It’s crazy, but a farmer should actually drink eight 8oz cups of water every hour.”

Ploeckelman said you can help your body absorb that water, and prevent several trips to the restroom by drinking slowly,  and taking small sips.  She said not only will drinking that much water help you physically, it will help you mentally, and keep brain fog at bay.  And Ploeckelman stressed seeking the shade this time of year is always a good idea.

“If it’s hot out, and you’re starting to feel a little off, seek shade.  Find some place that you can take a break, take a breather, get some shade, and cool yourself down.”

She added by planning ahead at the start of the day, fewer long breaks will be needed and more work on the farm can be done, safely.

If you have a story idea for the PNW Ag Network, call (509) 547-1618, or e-mail glenn.vaagen@townsquaremedia.com