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AustralianFarmers

Scorcher days means sweaty farmers – How to manage heatstroke this summer

It’s a scorcher this week! In many places, the mercury is soaring well past 40 degrees. Records are being broken and average maximum temps well surpassed.

But we well know that the work doesn’t stop when the weather turns hot, hot, hot. The daily grind goes on for farmers – overseeing shearing, feeding livestock and managing water points.

Australian Farmers is urging those toiling in the heat to be mindful of their wellbeing.

During summer days, like those we’re experiencing now, heatstroke is the number one risk.

Heatstroke is when your body temperature rises above 40°C (it’s usually around 37°C) and is caused by dehydration, lack of airflow and sun exposure.

Sun protection and taking breaks is key to avoiding heatstroke.
How do I know if I have heatstroke?

The symptoms of heatstroke are:

  • raised body temp
  • red, hot and dry skin (not sweating)
  • rapid pulse
  • throbbing headache
  • dizziness, confusion and exhaustion
  • collapse or become unconscious

How can I avoid heatstroke?

Drink plenty of water – enough to replace the fluids lost through perspiration. As a measuring stick, on a normal day it is recommended to drink two to three litres of water a day. As well as water, eating more small meals throughout the day – preferably cold meals like salads and sandwiches – can make a difference in combating heatstroke

The cooler parts of the day are in the early mornings – so try and plan your day and take regular breaks under the shade or in air conditioning when possible. It’s also extremely important not to push yourself if you start feeling ill or light-headed.

Find shade, take a break and drink lots of water while on the farm this summer.

Remember the good old “Slip, Slop, Slap” and be sensible with sun protection! Wear a wide brimmed hat, 50 SPF sunscreen, loose fitting and breathable clothing and sunnies.

It’s important to note that nothing is more important than your health and wellbeing. That job you need to get done can always be left for tomorrow, especially if it means safely coming home to your family.

For more information on farm summer safety see the links below:

Summer farm safety tips

The do’s and don’t’s of dealing with snakebites 

Using quad bikes over the silly (but safe) season

FarmSafe.org.au

Andrea Martinello

Andrea Martinello

Andrea is the Community & Engagement Officer at the National Farmers' Federation.

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