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June 12, 2019 • read
Live by these 5 tips to stay healthy all summer long
Summers across this country are delicious. We spend so long cooped up in winter that getting outside to soak in the sunshine and warm weather is a treat. Many of us go camping or away to cottages over the warmer months. While it’s not hard to figure out how to take care of yourself in the summer, we do need to keep some specific things in mind. Read on to take in our health tips for summer.
Summer health tips for students
For the most part, if you’re a student, you’re just like the rest of us except … you might not have to wake up for a 9-5. While it’s tempting to stay up until all hours to enjoy those summer nights, sticking to a schedule is important for overall health and wellbeing. Many students end up working part- or full-time positions, and being overtired has some not-so-great consequences.
Another big one is figuring out what your extended health insurance looks like once the school year is finished. Some colleges and universities extend health coverage over the summer months, but not all of them do. It’s important to check into your coverage before the school year ends to make sure you know where you stand. Otherwise, you might find yourself paying even more for that dental cleaning.
Summer health tips for skin
The sun emits UV or ultraviolet radiation. Too much will quickly cause sunburn, and can lead to skin cancer, skin aging and cataracts. To keep you updated, weather services report on the UV index — measuring our risk from zero to 11+. The sun is higher in the sky during spring and summer, so the sun’s rays reach us more directly. This means that the UV index is higher — peaking between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm each day.
To protect yourself, slather on the sunscreen and invest in a good hat and a pair of sunglasses with UV protection. Staying out of the sun during those peak hours is another great way to keep your eyes and skin protected. We’re big fans of getting enough vitamin D and no one is suggesting you stay indoors all day, but it’s important to take precautions. No one wants to look old before their time. And remember reflective surfaces like water and white sand reflect rays and increase UV exposure. So it’s super important to reapply sunscreen when swimming, even if you don’t feel hot.
Beat the heat
While drinking more water when you’re out in the heat is a given, it’s not the only thing to keep in mind. Heatstroke is actually a medical emergency. So stay vigilant on those sweltering days where the humidity bumps the temperature into the 30s. Some simple tips for keeping healthy in the summer heat include making sure you wear cool, loose clothing and limiting the amount of time you spend outdoors working or exercising.
Heat cramps and heat exhaustion are the steps before heatstroke. So be alert for red or pale skin and nausea or dizziness after time spent in the heat. A shift in mood, a change to level of consciousness, or rapid and shallow breathing could signal heatstroke, and you should call 9-1-1 immediately if you suspect it. Keep in mind that heatstroke can happen indoors without air conditioning, or in a car. Young children and older adults are especially vulnerable, as their bodies are not as adept at regulating their body temperature.
Swimming is a great way to keep cool, but safety can’t be forgotten. Reading the Canadian Drowning Report provides a window into how quickly summer fun can turn tragic. The majority of drowning deaths take place over the summer months, peaking in July. On average, over 80% of victims are male, and more than half of all drownings happen on the weekend. Recreational activities on natural bodies of water such as lakes account for many of the tragedies. But it’s not young children who are drowning in these situations. Young adults aged 20-34 and seniors over 65 are the groups most likely to die from drowning in Canada. Often the victim isn’t wearing a lifejacket.
When it comes to water safety, small changes can have a huge impact. Lifejackets are a must for boating. And drinking and water activities should never go hand-in-hand. Weaker swimmers should also wear a lifejacket or PFD, and everyone needs to swim with at least one buddy (who can actually swim!).
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Bird baths, kiddy pools and anywhere else that water collects can make inviting spots for mama mosquito to lay her eggs, so make sure to remove all of it from your property. Even so, you’re still likely to run into them. Help deter their bites by wearing insect repellent as well as loose-fitting, tightly woven fabric like nylon or polyester.
Summer health care is more than just making sure you’re staying hydrated and eating right. As Canadians, getting out into nature is one of our national pastimes, but doing so means taking certain precautions. So take a minute to prepare before going out, to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy this summer.