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Estimating the Prevalence of Heat-Related Symptoms and Sun Safety-Related Behavior among Latino Farmworkers in Eastern North Carolina.

Research paper by Gregory D GD Kearney, Hui H Hu, Xiaohui X Xu, Marla B MB Hall, Jo Anne G JA Balanay

Indexed on: 20 Oct '15Published on: 20 Oct '15Published in: Journal of agromedicine



Abstract

In hot weather, thermal heat generated by the body, combined with environmental heat from the sun, can lead outdoor workers to experience heat-related stress, severe illness, or even death. The aims of this study were to estimate the prevalence of heat-related symptoms and potential risk factors associated with sun safety-related behavior among Latino farmworkers. Data from interviewer-administered questionnaires were collected from a cross-sectional survey among farmworkers (N = 158) from August to September 2013. Data analysis assessed associations between work activities, sun safety behavior, and the prevalence of heat-related illness (HRI) symptoms among workers. Nearly two thirds (72%) of farmworkers experienced at least one HRI symptom and lacked proper cooling methods when working outdoors. Most workers reported wearing long-sleeved shirts (85%), long pants (98%), and baseball caps (93%). The prevalence of having one HRI symptom was 72% and 27% among workers having three or more HRI symptoms. The majority of farmworkers experience symptoms of HRI and are not provided with proper shade protection when working outdoors. Increased emphasis on administrative controls, particularly educating field supervisors and workers on how to avoid and recognize HRI, should be a priority.