Summer is one of the most challenging periods to be on the road for many truckers. Aside from the increased traffic, which requires extra alertness to avoid accidents, there is also the intense heat and humidity that comes with the season.
A trucker’s prolonged exposure to this harsh climate could result in mild conditions, like dehydration, and severe conditions, trucker’s arm.
In the spirit of helping truckers cope with the weather while maintaining their good health, we describe what a trucker’s arm is in this article. We also show you how to prevent it.
Regardless of our profession, our lives orbit the sun, albeit with varying degrees of exposure. Prolonged exposure to the sun is extremely harmful and can cause various skin disorders, such as wrinkles, sunburns, premature aging, and even skin cancer.
A trucker’s extended exposure to the harsh impacts of the sun renders them considerably more susceptible to these ailments, which sometimes results in a trucker’s arm.
Trucker’s arm, or a truck driver’s tan, is a condition where one hand, mostly the left arm of a driver, is darkened from sunburns from extended driving. This left arm is closer to the truck’s window, causing a section of the arm from the sleeve downwards to darken significantly.
Trucker’s arm comes with all the symptoms of sunburn, including inflammation of the arm, only that it is a lot more severe.
Constant exposure to the sun increases the risk of developing skin cancer. Hence, these symptoms should be identified and treated as soon as possible. Otherwise, it may develop into something much more severe. Some common symptoms of a trucker’s arm include:
Trucker’s arm is a much more serious case of sunburn, thus producing more extreme inflammation. When left untreated, trucker’s arm leads to inflammation which can be characterized by the skin peeling or flaking, painful blisters around the forearm and elbow as well as an itchy and unpleasant rash.
The most common symptom of a trucker’s arm is the darkened look it gives off. This discolouration starts from the sleeve of the arm downwards and is substantially more severe than other cases of arm redness or discolouration.
A skin lesion arises when a portion of the skin has different characteristics from the surrounding skin. This might be any skin area with a distinct appearance or abnormal growth compared to the skin around it.
This ailment is commonly associated with sunburn and produces itches, lumps, and a scaly texture on the exposed arm.
Actively attempting to minimize sun damage is a preferable alternative for avoiding the catastrophic consequences of extended sun exposure. Here are some suggestions on how to prevent a trucker’s arm.
Sunscreens are incredibly significant safety measures for individuals exposed to the sun for extended periods; thus, it is critical to have a top-quality sunscreen that provides a high level of UV protection.
A good sunscreen deflects both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation, effectively providing a broad spectrum of protection. Sunscreens come with a sun protection factor (SPF) rating, which indicates their level of UVA and UVB impediment.
A higher rating protects you better from the effects of the sun. Alternatively, high-quality sunscreens could also be labeled as “broad spectrum.”
The standard rating by the FDA is SPF 15. However, sunscreens rated above 30 are deemed best as they’ve been shown to prevent skin cancer.
Tinted windows effectively limit sun exposure and significantly reduce side tan while driving. However, there are different safety regulations regarding tinted windows in different states.
Before applying a UV tint, follow the laws of the states you reside in and drive through, as well as other federal regulations concerning the tint you need.
The permissible window tint for any car is 34 percent. So, applying a dark window tint of less than 34 percent will get you in trouble with law enforcement.
Truckers can also use arm sleeves to avoid or decrease trucker’s arm. These sleeves are not too thick to cause heat, are easy to clean, and also have an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating.
The rating scale for an arm sleeve ranges from 15 to 50, with the capacity to block UV rays improving as the scale progresses. UPF sleeves ranging from 40 to 50 provide the highest UV ray protection, with textiles capable of blocking at least 98.5 percent of harmful ultraviolet radiation.
It is crucial to note that trucker’s arm does not develop exclusively in hot climates. Winter cold may be just as damaging to the skin as solar heat exposure.
Ultraviolet rays induce trucker’s arm. And these rays, while invincible, are also present in cooler climes. UV rays are reflected when they come into contact with fresh snow, making driving in these conditions unsafe if the snow hasn’t entirely melted.
To avoid sunburns, wear protective clothing while driving, even if the weather isn’t exactly hot out.
This is the last option because it’s not always feasible. A driving schedule is subject to the trucking company, freight requirements and even road conditions, making it challenging to alter a schedule.
However, for independent truckers who can do this, changing the driving schedule to work during hours when the sun isn’t too harsh can help reduce the risks of trucker’s arm.
Driving around sunset or at night would help avoid rush hour traffic and prolonged sun exposure.
Truckers must recognize the relevance of sun protection. Prolonged exposure might cause trucker’s arm and other problems, such as wrinkles, sunburns, premature aging, and even skin cancer.
Fortunately, there’s a lot the truck driver can do to prevent trucker’s arm. You can use sunscreens, protective wear, and sometimes, tinted windows.
Other measures to mitigate the effects of sun exposure include using ice cube bags to keep the truck’s leather seats cool and lowering body temperature during the hottest hours—from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.