Summer is in full swing and with temperatures climbing in the city, now is a good a time to remind ourselves of sun safety to ensure we have a happy and healthy summer. Here are 6 things to remember while enjoying the summer’s heat:
1. Hydrate. Dehydration happens when we lose more fluid than we take in. When this happens, our bodies doe not have enough water or other fluids to carry out their normal functions. Summer heat can cause excessive sweating, especially when being physically active. Drink additional water in hot or humid weather to help lower your body temperature and replace lost fluids.
2. Protect your skin. Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in Canada. If it is caught early, it can usually be easily treated. Higher risk is involved if you have light skin, eyes or hair, skin that burns or freckles easily, unusual moles or a family history of melanoma. Protect yourself by having regular skin screenings and wearing appropriate sunscreen. For extra protection, ensure your head is covered at all times and that you cover as much skin as possible in layers of light clothing. Remember that the sun’s peak hours are between 10 am and 4 pm. The key is moderation!
3. Protect your eyes. Long term exposure to UV rays can contribute to cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Bright light can damage your retina, be sure to protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses that filter out 100 per cent of UV light – especially around water. Water can reflect a tremendous amount of light to your eyes. Always have a hat and pair of sunglasses handy wherever you go.
4. Prevent heatstroke. Heatstroke is one of the most serious heat-related problems. It results from exercise or heavy work in hot environments combined with inadequate fluid intake. The main symptom of heatstroke is a significantly elevated body temperature. Ensure you limit your exposure to the sun and keep physical activity to a minimum during extremely hot days.
5. Boost your diet. With higher temperatures, we sweat more and burn more calories. Certain foods are great at keeping us cool like watermelon, coconut water, yogurt, cucumber and mint. Ensure you are getting your vitamins and antioxidants wherever you can. Certain vitamins are extra important during the summer months. For example, Vitamin E helps to protect the cells from damage caused by free radicals and it contributes to healthy skin, eyes and immune system. Always consult your doctor before introducing any new vitamins or supplements to your diet.
6. Use caution when exercising in the heat. If you are planning on going for a run or hike, opt to go early in the morning or in the evening when the temperature is lower. Stay away from strenuous workouts if there are heat or smog warnings. If you are used to exercising indoors or in cooler weather, take it easy at first when exercising in the heat. Make sure you drink plenty of water and wear appropriate clothing. Swimming is also a great, cool, outdoor activity to try!
This is the time for vacations, relaxation and adventure, but we also we need to take extra precautions and protect ourselves from the sun’s rays. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy rest of the summer!