Summers in Canada are often sweet but short. Naturally, we want to make the most out of the season.
However you like to spend your summers, be it toasting smores over a fire, walking on the beach, boating across a lake, or camping under the stars, just make sure to take proper precautions to avoid the types of illnesses and injuries that are common this time of year.
Here are some health and safety tips to help you enjoy summer to the fullest.
Beat the heat
Dress for the weather. In high temperatures, wear loose-fitting, light-coloured and breathable clothing, along with sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat or visor.
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of cool liquids — especially water. And don’t wait until you feel thirsty. Thirst is not a sign that you are dehydrated. Aim to drink about two to three litres of water per day.
Avoid midday heat. UV rays and temperatures are usually highest between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. When it’s extra hot, plan outdoor activities for mornings, late afternoons or evenings. Extreme heat can pose serious health risks, such as heat stroke.
Block the UV rays. Lather up with sunscreen, especially those at-risk areas like the face, lips, ears, knees, and the tops of their feet. Lotions of least 30 SPF will block 97% of UVB rays. Apply 30 minutes before heading outside and again every two hours or directly after swimming or excessive sweating.
Stay cool. Don’t have air conditioning? Spend a few hours in a cool-down spot such as a shaded park, splash pad, public library or shopping mall.
Watch for symptoms of heat illnesses. If you or a loved one experience dizziness, fainting, nausea or vomiting, headache or rapid breathing and heartbeat during extreme heat, seek shelter and drink water immediately. Call 911 or your local emergency number if anyone has a high body temperature and is either confused, unconscious or stops breathing.
Learn more information about summer heatwave survival at canada.ca/health
Be a happy camper
Pack the right gear. Pack for all kinds of temperatures and weather. Bring a first-aid kit that includes antiseptics for cuts and pain relievers.
Don’t go alone. Always tell someone where you're going, especially if you head out solo. Purchase a trail map, carry a compass and whistle, and don't rely on your phone since service may be spotty and drain your battery.
Protect against COVID-19. Wherever you travel this summer, make sure to take hand sanitizer, extra face masks and sanitizing wipes. Even though many of us have been vaccinated, it’s still important to follow pandemic prevention measures and adhere to the latest public health guidelines in your province.
Practice safe boating
Learn the rules and obey the law. Gain basic boating safety knowledge and learn the “rules of the road.” If you’re operating a motorized boat, get a Pleasure Craft Operator Card or another approved form of operator competency. If your boat is powered by motors of 7.5kW (10hp), make sure it is licensed.
Be on the lookout. Keep a constant watch for other boats and hazards on the waterway.
Sharpen your safe boating skills by visiting the Transport Canada Office of Boating website at tc.gc.ca/boatingsafety.
Pick the right spot. Choose a safe place to swim, such as a supervised beach or lake. If there’s no lifeguard on duty, designate a spotter on land who can call for help if trouble arises.
Keep a close eye on the kids. Never lose sight of the wee ones, even when they’re using swimming aids such as armbands or water wings.
Know before you go. Before you enter the water, ask for local health and safety notices. They can include important warnings about water pollution levels or a strong undertow.
Wear a lifejacket. Young children and inexperienced swimmers should always wear an approved lifejacket or personal flotation device in or near the water.
Take classes. Sign up your kids for a swimming and water safety program and enrol in first aid training to learn basic lifesaving skills.
Sources: Health Canada, News Canada, Transport Canada