Protect Your Skin before Fun in the Sun

From the time I could understand words to the time I left home it was drilled into my head to wear sunscreen. My mother would constantly say things like this as I was headed out the door somewhere: “Did you put on sunscreen?” “Do you have a hat?” “I know it’s hot, but you should wear long sleeves.” What would I say? “Yes mom. I know.”

You see, my mother was a stickler about protecting my skin because she was diagnosed with melanoma when she was 30.  She knew the worry and pain associated with being told she had skin cancer and she didn’t want that to happen to me. Moms will be moms right? Well, over the years her words really sunk in and would echo in my head, especially when I look in the mirror and find little freckles on my checks, forehead, and ears that weren’t there last year. Now that I am a mother, I find her words coming out of my mouth. “Make sure you put sunscreen on Beth.” “Does she have a hat?” “Make sure you put the umbrella up on her stroller.”

I am not a doctor. I have no association with healthcare or skin products. I am an agriculturalist. That is what keeps me alert about the dangers of sun exposure. Many of us spend our time working outside in the middle of the day when the sun is most intense. Sometimes it is unavoidable. Sometimes we can’t follow all the doctor’s recommendations for sun safety, but we should try our best. Why? Because skin cancer is the most common type of cancer there is and it can be prevented.

Check out this information published by OSU Extension from Dr. S. Dee Jepsen, Associate Professor and State Safety Leader, Agricultural Safety and Health, Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering and Jeffery Suchy, Graduate Student and Lecturer, Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering about sun exposure and protecting your skin:


Sun Exposure (Protect Your Skin)

Gardeners work long hours, often outside in the sun during peak exposure hours. Repeated exposure to the sun can cause skin damage and certain cancers. Skin damage can include dark spots, irregular pigmentation and wrinkles. Long-term exposure and repeated damage can lead to melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer. Damage typically occurs through progressive exposure over several years. Limiting exposure, dressing appropriately and applying sunscreen can reduce the chances of skin damage and disease.

Gardeners should take greater precautions against sun exposure if they:

  • Have a history of skin cancers.
  • Have a lot of freckles or moles.
  • Burn easily or have a fair complexion.
  • Have blonde or red hair.
  • Have blue, green or gray eyes.

A common misconception is that people with darker complexions are not at risk for skin cancers because they do not easily sunburn. While it is true that people with darker complexions are more naturally protected (melanin blocks UV rays) from damage than those with lighter complexions, everyone can experience skin damage from prolonged exposure. Prolonged exposure and repeated damage can lead to certain forms of skin cancer and, if left unchecked, can be deadly.

Facts About UV Rays

Although they affect the skin in different ways, both UVA and UVB rays have been linked to skin cancer.

Watching for Skin Cancer

Check any skin spot that spontaneously bleeds, changes color, or changes size. For anyone working outside in the sun, it is important to check the skin on a regular basis for visible signs of skin cancer. Look for these physical signs:

  • Asymmetrical spots.
  • Irregular borders.
  • Color variations.
  • Diameters bigger than the end of a pencil eraser.

For answers to questions about the possibility of skin cancer, consult a doctor.

In order to minimize the risk of skin damage or cancer, follow these basic recommendations:

  • Stay in the shade and avoid sun exposure between 10 am and 3 pm.
  • Schedule outdoor work for early mornings or later in the afternoon.
  • When operating a mower or other unprotected vehicle, consider adding a shade canopy to the driver’s seat.
  • Put up a collapsible tent if working outside in one location for an extended period of time.
  • If possible, perform equipment repairs and maintenance in a workshop rather than outside.


To conclude this article inspired by my mother, Mom you are right. Thanks for annoying me about sun safety. I will pass on the legacy to my daughter too. I hope you readers will do the same. Remember to love your life and love your body. It’s hard to have one without the other.

Veterinary Feed Directive-FAQs

Effective January 1, 2017 livestock producers will need a Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) to purchase feeds/supplements that contain “medically important” antibiotics (antibiotics used for both animal and human medicine), including tetracycline, penicillin, neomycin, and others. The implementation of this federal policy sparks many questions within the livestock community.

  1. What is a VFD? A VFD is a written statement from a veterinarian which authorizes the use of antibiotic feeds for a specific situation. While this sounds like a prescription, by definition it is not. The main difference is that a prescription must be filled by a pharmacist, while a VFD does not.
  2. Why do we need VFDs? Within the multitude of producers, there are a handful who have used these feeds as a crutch to support sub-par animal husbandry practices or to take advantage of the increased feed efficiency linked to the feed, rather than to treat, prevent, or cure disease. Over use of these antibiotics increases the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
  3. Can I stockpile feed before January 1, 2017? You should not. If you notice, the tags on these feeds already state that they should not be fed without a VFD and when 2017 begins the policy is effective whether the feed was purchased before or after January 1st. If misuse of the feeds is discovered, the producer will be reprimanded. In turn, if a retailer sells the product without a VFD from the buyer, both parties will be reprimanded.
  4. If I get a VFD and follow the rules, does it mean that when I finish the treatment regime I have to discard the leftovers and buy a new bag next time? No, you can keep the product until it expires, but you must have a valid VFD to feed it at any time. VFDs do expire.
  5. Can my vet renew my VFD? Yes.
  6. How long do I have to keep record of my VFD? You, your vet, and the retailer should all keep a copy on file for at least 2 years and it should be accessible upon demand from the FDA.
  7. What do I need to do before January 1st? Maintain your relationship with your veterinarian. If you do not already have a relationship with a vet, establish one.
  8. How much does a VFD cost? There will be cost associated with a VFD, although there is no set price. Cost will depend on the circumstance and your relationship with your veterinarian.
  9. Are there exceptions to obtaining VFDs based on the number of livestock in consideration? Whether you intend to offer these feeds or supplements to one animal or your whole herd, you still need a VFD which explains the scope of the situation.
  10. How can I learn more about VFDs? Visit or talk with your veterinarian.

The information in this article is adapted from the words of Dr. Justin Kiefer, DVM at The Ohio State University and announcements from the Food and Drug Administration.