Sun exposure, sun-related symptoms, and sun protection practices in an African informal traditional medicines market

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 13
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    Informal workers in African market trade have little formal protection against sun exposure. We aimed to examine sun exposure, sun-related symptoms, and sun protection practices in an informal occupational setting. Trained fieldworkers asked 236 workers in the Warwick Junction market about their workplace, skin and eye sensitivity and skin colour, symptoms faced at work during the summer due to heat, and preventive measures. Data were analyzed using univariate logistic regression to assess the effect of gender and the risk of experiencing symptoms to sun exposure in relation to pre-existing diseases and perception of sun exposure as a hazard. Of the 236 participants, 234 were Black African and 141 (59.7%) were female. Portable shade was the most commonly used form of sun protection (69.9%). Glare from the sun (59.7%) and excessive sweating (57.6%) were commonly reported sun-related health symptoms. The use of protective clothing was more prevalent among those who perceived sun exposure as a hazard (p = 0.003). In an informal occupational setting, sun exposure was high. Protective clothing and portable shade to eliminate heat and bright light were self-implemented. Action by local authorities to protect informal workers should consider sun exposure to support workers in their efforts to cope in hot weather.