It’s summertime, a great time of year to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. Here are some tips to safely enjoy summer activities.
Mind the heat.
Be cautious of too much time in the heat of summer. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body is exposed to high temperatures and humidity for long periods of time. Know the signs of heat stroke including high body temperature, confusion, lack of coordination, dizziness, and no sweating, with very hot, red skin. If you have these symptoms, hydrate, go indoors or find a shady spot to sit. If symptoms persist, visit your local emergency department.
Protect your skin.
During the long summer days, prolonged exposure to UV rays increases the risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers, as well as eye or lip cancer. Remember to use a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher sunscreen to help reduce the risk.
Be tick safe.
Ticks are common in Ontario and can be carriers of Lyme disease – an inflammatory infection that spreads to humans and pets through tick bites. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid tick-infested areas whenever possible and take precautions when hiking in high-grass areas. Other tips include wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants tucked into your socks and using insect repellant that says “DEET” or “icaridin”. When you get home, check your skin and put your clothes in the dryer. For more information, visit https://www.peelregion.ca/health/vbd/lyme/prevention.htm.
Be water smart.
When it comes to swimming and boating, there are some risks that come with spending time in or on the water. Be water smart and avoid deep or unknown waters, stay within areas where you feel confident and capable, and always wear a well-fitted lifejacket when boating.
Stay active and enjoy the summer!
Summer is a great time of year to start or get back to an active lifestyle – running, cycling and roller-blading are great for your heart and muscular health. To stay safe and help prevent accidents, always wear proper protective equipment like helmets, knee and elbow pads and bright clothing, use day and night lights, and be aware of your surroundings.
Dr. Shane Teper, MD, FCFP (EM), is Osler’s Interim Corporate Chief of Family Medicine and has been with Osler for more than 20 years in the Departments of Family and Emergency Medicine. Dr. Teper also works in the community providing comprehensive primary care as a member of Queen Square Family Health Team, and is Co-Chair of the Central West Ontario Health Team.