Health issues for farmers

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Monday I had my annual skin cancer screening. I had shared with you before that I had a minor melanoma in 2006. I was lucky that it was caught early before it progressed past the top layer of skin cells. I have had regular screenings since this occurrence in 2006, and have been melanoma free. I bring this up to remind farmers who are constantly out in the sun that it is important to protect yourself by wearing long sleeves if possible or using sunscreen, and to have regular screenings to make certain that you do not have a developing problem. When caught early like mine was, melanoma can be treated effectively and painlessly. If left to develop into a problem melanoma can be painful, debilitating and even fatal. Don’t wait for a big problem to develop. See your doctor on a regular basis and have the peace of mind of knowing that you do not have a problem. Don’t assume that you have to have a large spot or mole to have a developing melanoma. Mine was small and I didn’t even know I had it. I had gone to the doctor to have a rash looked at and left knowing a potential problem had been averted.
While on the topic of health, summer is upon us, and temperatures are beginning to heat up. Us older farmers can really suffer from combinations of high humidity and excessive heat. The older you are the more cautious you need to be when out in the summer heat.
When a person’s body cannot properly cool itself, it increases the risks for heat-related illnesses. Older adults are more susceptible to hyperthermia, a common heat-related illness that results in a dangerously high body temperature. The most common form of hyperthermia is heatstroke. Heatstroke occurs when a person’s body temperature reaches 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Prolonged exposure to hot temperatures and high humidity, existing health problems, some medications and being older increase the risk of heatstroke. When body temperature rise above 107 degrees, it can be fatal.
Older adults are more susceptible to hyperthermia, because sweat glands, which normally help regulate the body’s temperature, often diminish in number, while those remaining may not function as well. This slows older adults’ ability to properly regulate their temperature. Certain medical conditions common to old age such as diabetes, dehydration, and heart, kidney and central nervous systems diseases can further decrease the body’s ability to regulate temperature. Normal age-related skin changes can also make it more difficult for older adults to regulate their body temperature and adjust to extreme heat.
Farmers can reduce their risk for heat-related illnesses by limiting outdoor activity on extremely hot days to the early morning or late evening, wearing light-weight, light colored and loose fitting clothes, wide-brimmed hats and sunscreen. Those who must work outdoors during extremely hot and humid weather should take frequent breaks if possible in a shaded area.
The Marion County Farmers Market is now open on both Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the farmers Market pavilion on Martin Luther King Blvd. A wide selection of fresh produce, canned items, baked goods and crafts will be available. All items are produced in Marion County so you know you will be supporting our local farmers! New vendors are always welcome. If you are interested in selling at the market call the Extension office for details.
The Central Kentucky Premier Heifer Sale will be held on Saturday, June 7, at the Marion County Fairgrounds. Approximately 185 fall calving heifers will be available for sale. All heifers have been inspected by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, vaccinated, pelvic measured, and will be guaranteed to be bred for thirty days following the sale. All heifers were bred to calving ease bulls. If you are looking to expand your herd this is an excellent opportunity to obtain high quality breeding stock.
The next beekeepers meeting will be Wednesday, June 11, at 6:30 p.m. at the Marion County Extension Office.
The next edition of the Container Gardening Classes will be held Thursday, June 19, at 5:30 p.m. at the Marion County Extension Office

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