Support your favourite tradie
Some helpful advice from the long-suffering Mrs Sandy Burns.
If your partner’s a tradie – like my Sonny – then there are a few things you can do to keep him safe from the sun when he’s working.
Regular skin checks
The first thing Sonny does when he comes home is throw off his work clothes and jump in the shower. That’s the perfect time to do a monthly check for suspicious moles or spots.
If you find a spot with just one of these symptoms, then you need to book your tradie into the doctor. (If I leave this to Sonny, I know it just won’t happen.) Early detection really is the key to minimising the impact of skin cancer.
Get the right clothing
Sonny’s a big bloke, but trust me – he’s not a big shopper. So, once in a while I update his work wardrobe for him.
Look for long sleeved shirts. If your tradie finds these too hot, then look for the lightweight gear. Bisley and Hard Yakka make some great 125gsm hard-wearing, long sleeve shirts with venting in both hi-vis and everyday colours. It is essential to make sure they have UPF 40 or 50 tags. This means they block over 95% of UV radiation.
If your tradie is stubborn and won’t wear long sleeves, then at least get him out of a singlet and into a UPF 40 or 50 short-sleeved shirt. This will help protect his neck and shoulders. But make sure he puts some sunscreen on his forearms.
Now, pants. Long pants are best, but if your tradie will only wear shorts, then make sure they come to the knee and are UPF 40 or 50. Make sure he has sunscreen from the top of his socks to the bottom of his shorts.
A good hat is essential. A broad-brimmed hat is best – but I know if it doesn’t suit Sonny’s work, he just won’t wear it. A legionnaire-style cap will protect his ears and neck far better than a baseball cap.
Get the right sunscreen
Traditional sunscreens can be a little greasy and sticky, and my Sonny hates them. So look for the new sunscreens which dry so quickly, he’ll forget he’s wearing them. Make sure it is labelled dry touch and SPF 50+. They are readily available in supermarkets and chemists.
Play to their ego
Although he may not admit it, your tradie cares about how he looks. But does a tan have to be part of that look? Putting on a bit of sunscreen in the morning and during the day doesn’t make him less of a man. It will just keep him better protected from skin cancer.
Be a role model to the kids
Kids watch everything we do. They are life’s little mirrors reflecting back to us the things we do wrong. Now, for some reason men just don’t get why they can’t get the kids to wear sunscreen and a hat when they don’t do it themselves.
So you need to let him know how important it is as a father, uncle or even big brother to do the right thing in front of the kids. He might not be concerned enough about his health to make a change, but I bet he is about theirs.