Top 5 Tips to Stay Safe This Summer.
The summer douses us in warm weather and good times, but you might want to make sure you check out these top five tips to stay safe this summer to make sure you get the most fun out of the summer and don’t regret a silly decision or two that leaves you on the sidelines.
- Be sun smart. Having fun outdoors is what most of us love to do in the summer, but if you’re not smart about sun safety you’ll be regretting it with sunburns that not only cause pain today but can increase your risk of skin cancer in the long run. Remember, sunscreen is important on all days outside whether it’s sunny or cloudy, hot or cold. The Canada Safety Council recommends the use of a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher and using a golf ball-sized amount each time you apply, which should be 20 minutes before sun exposure. Also check to make sure that your sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays. Don’t forget to reapply after perspiring or swimming. Also, try to enjoy your time outside before 11:00 a.m. or after 4:00 p.m. as that’s when the sun’s rays are weaker.
- Your car is hotter than you think. Even on cooler days, the temperatures inside a car can reach lethal levels (easily 50 degrees when the temperature is only 35 degrees outside within 20 minutes) particularly for children and pets and fatalities and organ damage resulting from this heat are all too frequent. However, they can be avoided. Never leave your child or pet inside a car with the window cracked “just for a minute.” Also, don’t allow your car to be a play area for children.
- Stay heat-safe. While everyone looks forward to the warm weather of summer, people also need to be aware of heat-related illnesses that can occur when we get too much of a good thing. These illnesses include heat stress, heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Symptoms of these illnesses can range from painful muscle spasms, to fainting, seizures, unconsciousness, and even death. To avoid getting overheated:
- Try to plan your outdoor activities in the morning or evening to avoid the hottest part of the day.
- Avoid drinks with caffeine and alcohol as they will dehydrate you.
- Eat a balanced diet and consider drinks with electrolytes in them to replenish what you have lost.
- Make sure you carry water with you at all times.
- Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting, long-sleeved clothing and a hat with a brim.
And remember, if you do experience signs of heat-related illness like dizziness, headache, blurred vision, or nausea, stop what you’re doing and find a cool place to rest.
- Be water wise. It is a sad fact that, according to the Lifesaving Society, 400 Canadians die of drowning each year and drowning is the second leading cause of preventable death in children 10 and under. So it’s important to take water safety seriously. Whether you’re in the backyard, at a pool or a lake, make sure children are always supervised around water. It’s important to know that children can drown in only a few centimeters of water and in order to protect them, you should be within arm’s reach at all times and get them into swimming lessons for their own safety.
- Your lifejacket: It’s worth it to wear it. Open water activities are very popular in the summer but just having a lifejacket in the boat with you isn’t doing anyone any favours. If you want to avoid water-related injuries and fatalities it’s worth it to wear your lifejacket. Remember, even strong swimmers drown so even these people need to wear lifejackets. Also, don’t buy into the myth that you only need a lifejacket if the weather is bad or if you’re a newbie. Weather can turn bad in minutes and accidents can happen to anyone that will make you glad you’re wearing that lifejacket.
For more on summer safety from the Canada Safety Council, see here.
“This article was written by award-winning mental health writer and speaker, Natasha Tracy.”