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Dr. Tajinder Kaura’s Five Tips for a Safe Summer

Summer is here, a time to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. Here are Dr. Kaura’s tips for a healthy and safe summer:

Check the air quality.

During warmer months and especially when wildfire smoke is present, air quality can be poor. It is important to know the local air quality health index (AQHI) before heading out. If necessary, adjust your activities to reduce the risk of over-exposure to potentially harmful air pollutants. Check local AQHI and weather conditions, https://weather.gc.ca/index_e.html, and if you suffer from conditions like asthma, have your inhaler on hand.

Keep your skin safe.

Enjoying the long and hot summer days is something we wait for all year. Sunny days come with fun and enjoyment, but also with prolonged exposure to UV rays and an increased risk of skin cancers, as well as eye and lip cancer. Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher, to help reduce the risk.

Watch out for ticks.

Ticks have become more common in Ontario and can be carriers of Lyme disease – an inflammatory infection that spreads to humans through tick bites. Prevent infection by avoiding tick-infested areas whenever possible and take precautions when hiking in high-grass areas. Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants tucked into your socks, and use “DEET” or “icaridin” insect repellant. When you get home, check for ticks and put your clothes in the dryer. For more information, visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/lyme-disease.

Be safe around water.

A great way to spend a beautiful summer day is at the beach, a pool or at a nearby lake. However, there are risks that come with spending time in or on the water. Avoid deep or unknown waters, stay within water areas you feel confident and capable in, and always wear a well-fitted lifejacket when boating or on water craft. Teach children about water safety and ensure they are always supervised near pools and other bodies of water.

Be active, but safe.

Summer is a great time of year to be active. Running, cycling and roller-blading are great for your heart and muscular health. Stay safe and always wear proper protective equipment like helmets, knee and elbow pads and bright clothing, and be aware of your surroundings. Everyone, especially children, should always wear a helmet when cycling or roller-blading.

Dr. Tajinder Kaura, MD CCFP (EM), is an Emergency Physician and Site Chief for the Urgent Care Centre at William Osler Health System’s Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness. After completing medical school at Université De Montreal, Dr. Kaura completed his residency at McGill University. Dr. Kaura is also an active member of the South Asian Community Health Taskforce.

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