Sun safety must-knows

With summer already in full swing, here’s a shorter blog that’s a quick read by the pool or between outings. Did you know that four groups of people are most at risk of developing summer heat-related complications? Those are young children, the elderly, the chronically ill and those working outdoors.

As a big checklist enthusiast, I’d like to share with you the essentials for making summer safe and enjoyable for you and your loved ones.

✅ Cover up: When the UV Index is 3 or higher, protect your skin. Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved shirts, pants and a wide-brimmed hat made from breathable fabric. Choose sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.

✅ Limit sun exposure: Stay out of the sun between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. During this time, the UV index in Canada can be 3 or higher. If your shadow is shorter than you, the sun is very strong. Find shade in parks with big trees or under partial roofs, awnings, umbrellas or gazebos. Always bring an umbrella to the beach. In addition to wearing loose, light-coloured clothing, stay cool by taking cool showers, planning strenuous activities for cooler times or locations and spending time in shaded or air-conditioned places.

✅ Check the UV index forecast: Stay updated by listening to local radio, watching TV or checking online for the UV index in your area. When the UV index is 3 or higher, wear protective clothing, sunglasses and sunscreen, even if it’s cloudy.

✅ Use sunscreen: Apply sunscreen when the UV index is 3 or higher. Use broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with at least SPF 30.

✅ Stay hydrated: Drink lots of cool liquids, especially water, before you feel thirsty. On hot and humid days, staying cool and hydrated can prevent heat illness. Dehydration is dangerous, and feeling thirsty isn’t always a good sign of dehydration.

✅ Avoid tanning equipment: There’s no such thing as a “healthy” tan. Tanning equipment damages your skin and increases your risk of melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer.

✅ Talk to your healthcare provider: Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if any of your medications could make you more sensitive to UV rays.

✅ Check-in regularly: Visit neighbours, friends, and older family members regularly, especially those who are chronically ill, to ensure they stay cool and hydrated.

Anaïs Fortin-Maltais, Well 50+ & Caregivers Program Coordinator

Visit the Health Canada website to learn the signs and symptoms of heat illness.

Wishing you a lovely month of July!


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