Summer Safety Tips

Written by: Billie Clark

I don’t know about you, but I am not, by any means, a hot weather person.  My temperature comfort zone is between -5 and 20°C (maybe up to 25°C if it isn’t too humid) and recently, it has been hot.  This upcoming weekend is looking like high 30s, without a storm to break it up, and that made me think—how do I stay safe and healthy in this heat?

One of the most basic tips is, of course, staying hydrated.  Drink lots of water, have watermelon and freezies, and avoid pop.  But, drinking lots of water can’t stave off all heat-related issues, so I took to asking Google for help.  Here are some of the things I learned:

Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke

According to the National Health Service (NHS)—the OHIP of the UK—heatstroke is when your body isn’t able to cool itself down anymore, so your internal body temperature becomes too high.  Heat exhaustion is when you get too hot that you lose too much water and salt from your body (or, in other words, you sweat a ton and it effects your body).  Heatstroke doesn’t happen as often as heat exhaustion, but the side-effects are much more serious; heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, so it’s important to prevent it if you can, and treat it if you end up having it.

The best ways to prevent heat exhaustion and heatstroke are to stay out of the sun when it’s at its hottest, wear loose and breathable clothing, don’t over-exert yourself, try to avoid direct sunlight—stick to the shade!—and wear a hat and sunscreen.  It is also important to stay cool and hydrated: drink lots of water, avoid hot drinks, alcohol, and caffeine, and eat cold foods, like salads.

For more information on the symptoms and effects of heat exhaustion and heatstroke, check out the NHS website.

Sun Safety

I don’t know how many of you wear sunscreen, but usually don’t.  It’s a bad habit of mine, and it’s pretty reckless, considering I still have tan-lines from the sunburn I managed to get before I left Wales in June 2015.  So, wear sunscreen and don’t get burned.  Make sure the sunscreen you use protects you from both UVA and UVB radiation—the SPF is for UVB—and that it is a high enough SPF that you feel comfortable wearing it.  I tend to aim for between SPF20 and SPF45, but really, whatever high SPF I can get a lot without spending a ton of money.  Make sure you apply the sunscreen properly—you can always follow the directions on the bottle, they’re there for a reason.

Make sure you don’t spend too long in direct sunlight if you can help it—sunstroke is a real thing, and it can be just as bad for you as heatstroke.  If you are going to be outside for extended periods of time, try sticking to the shade and wearing a hat.  You should also try to wear loose, breathable, but long-sleeved shirts, in order to help prevent too much harmful sunlight.  You need your vitamin D, but you don’t need to blister.

To find out more about sun protection, I’ve linked the Sun Safety Advice page, which includes a “How to Apply Sunscreen” video at the bottom, and the Sunscreen and Sun Safety page of the NHS website.

While I wish I could include some Government of Canada information on staying safe in the summer, I couldn’t find it on the Government of Canada or the Government of Ontario websites–please let me know if I missed it somewhere!–but the NHS is trusted, so these tips are all legit.

I hope that this information helps keep you safe and healthy for the rest of this summer!

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