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Remember to prevent these sun-related injuries

In New York, the sun burns hot, reflecting off pavements and buildings with few trees to absorb it. Those who work in these conditions outside know they can’t rely on shady coverage to bring them comfort.

Without the proper precautions, outdoor construction or labor workers may quickly face these dangers injuries.

Sunburn

A sunburn shows immediate symptoms: painful, itchy, red skin. It can also cause great fatigue. But, in severe cases, a sunburn could result in even worse issues, such as swelling, headaches, fever, chills and nausea. If left untreated, these severe sunburns can lead to infection, dehydration or electrolyte imbalance. Further, sun damage can even trigger the development of skin cancer much later in life.

Someone who takes precaution to avoid sunburn and still suffers an injury like this could be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits from their employer. Precautions to avoid sunburn include:

  • Using sunscreen, following reapplication instructions
  • Wearing clothing that is appropriate for the heat
  • Taking breaks in the shade or another cool setting

Dehydration

Dehydration is another risk that workers face while spending extended periods of time under the sun. This condition can present a high risk to employees who perform dangerous work, such as construction. The symptoms include dizziness, fainting, fatigue, dry skin, and increased heartbeat or breathing rate.

Treating this condition can be done fairly easily by drinking water or a beverage that contains electrolytes, like Gatorade. However, if the condition progresses, patients may also require IV rehydration.

Don’t hesitate to remind your employer when you need a break or that they should be providing you with water. You should also try to avoid food and drink that will dehydrate you, such as:

  • Soda
  • Fruit juice
  • Coffee
  • Energy drinks
  • Fried food
  • Salty snacks
  • Cured meat
  • Frozen dinners

Vision Impairment

Choosing not to wear sunglasses while outdoors can result in a lot of squinting. You won’t be able to see very well and the muscles in your face will probably be sore by the end of the day. But, did you know that extended exposure to the sun’s UV rays, without protection, can actually damage your eyes?

In fact, your eyes may become damaged to the point that you could develop one of the following conditions:

  • Cataracts
  • Pingueculae
  • Pterygia
  • Photokeratitis
  • Macular degeneration

Wearing sunglasses designed to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays can help reduce the likelihood of an eye injury.

With the right precautions, all of these sun-related injuries can be prevented. However, in some cases, employees who are not suited well to the weather could become injured anyway. Longterm injuries that an employee received at work can be compensated for by the employer's workers' compensation insurer.

 

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  • Walter J. Roesch IV
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