This is crazy but, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 80,000 people are taken to the ER every year due to lawn mower injuries!
It’s simple, lawn mowers, weed-eaters, and hedge clippers needed to maintain the lawn, are some of the most dangerous devices in the American household.
However, there may be an even more dangerous, unexpected, silent killer when performing this seemingly routine task.
So how can you have a great lawn, and stay safe?
Here is what you need to know, before you mow!
What is this Hidden Lawn Care Danger?
According to the American Cancer Society, Melanoma, a cancer of the skin, is caused by a combination of factors, but it is typically caused by overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Even minor exposures such as those linked to mowing the lawn can put the skin at risk of this disease.
“My lawn only takes 30 minutes to mow; do I still need to wear sunscreen?”
The answer to that question is a resounding, Yes!
It’s true, the sun gives the body needed Vitamin D used to fight depression, help regulate calcium as well as phosphorous, and even facilitate normal immune system function.
However, too much of it can be harmful. Being in the sun without sunscreen for just 20 minutes can start damaging cells’ DNA.
Fortunately, there are some simple solutions.
Protect Your Skin Solution #1: Wear Sunscreen
The simplest solution to protect your skin from the sun is sunscreen.
But, choosing sunscreen can be confusing.
It’s simple, SPF’s are used to describe the theoretical time it would take to get burned while out in the sun.
For example, an SPF15 means one can be in the sun 15 times longer when applied and not have damaging effects on the skin.
Below are some tips for making sure protection is at its highest.
Sunscreen Tip #1: Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher
Fair skin folks or individuals with light hair are more prone to UV rays.
As a result they should always use sunscreen with higher SPF’s, at least 30 or higher.
Sunscreen Tip #2: Reapply Often
If the property takes longer than two hours to mow, reapply sunscreen.
However, hourly reapplication would be the best bet, especially if heavy perspiration occurs.
Sunscreen Tip #3: Lather the entire body
It's critical to apply sunscreen to the areas of the body that are easily forgettable like your:
- and even the top of the head.
At least an ounce of the product should be used when applying sunscreen, make sure to apply a thick coat.
Protect Your Skin Solution #2: Consider Time of Day
Typically, the sun is most potent from 10:00am to 4:00pm.
This 6 hour time-frame is also the hottest part of the day and when the suns’ rays are at the highest UV levels. There are varying opinions on when to mow.
However, typically the best times to mow are either mid morning or late afternoon.
Protect Your Skin Solution #3: Cover the skin
Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants will not only protect one from UV rays, it will keep one cooler!
For best results; dark, Lightweight, loose-fitting clothing with tightly woven fabrics work best for keeping cool and safe.
Protect Your Skin Solution #4: Wear a Hat
To be fully effective, a hat with at least a 2- to 3-inch brim is ideal.
This will protect the areas most often exposed to the intense sun such as ears, eyes, forehead, nose, neck, and scalp.
For best results; a dark-colored, non-reflective underside to the brim will help protect the UV rays from hitting the face from reflective surfaces such as water.
Protect Your Skin Solution #5: Don’t forget the eyes
The America Academy of Ophthalmology reports that too much direct exposure to UV light raises the risk of eye diseases, including cataract and ocular melanoma.
Good news! Sunglasses that fully cover the eyes and do not allow sunlight in can protect your eyes.
Even better, polarized lenses work best at eliminating glare and reducing the harmful effects of UV light.
Bottom Line on Keeping Yourself Safe Outside
The point of this article is to debunk the lawn care myth about skin protection not being necessary.
Melanoma is the most common form of cancer in the United States. With more new cases being diagnosed each year than breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer combined!
Here's the catch, it is the easiest to protect against.
Whether through using sunscreen or following easy steps when sunscreen is not available, skin protection could save a life—even yours!
At the end of the day, you could always hire a lawn care professional through GreenPal to handle your lawn mowing for you!
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