summer health hazards

Summer Health Hazards and How to Avoid Them for a Great Season

Canadian summers can be magnificent, but most of us agree that they’re far too short. Here we are, midsummer, so let’s make the most of the time we have left by enjoying each summer day to its fullest. Here are some tips on avoiding the most common summer health hazards so you can have a safe and healthy season to remember.

#1. The Sun

Harmful ultraviolet rays are at their strongest in summertime, especially during peak midday hours. The risk of skin cancer, pre-mature aging and sun stroke should be enough to keep us from basking in the sun all day. Remember to limit sun exposure and seek shade when possible. Cover up with a large brimmed hat and protective clothing. Don’t forget your sunscreen and to reapply it throughout the day.

#2. Seasonal Allergies

Lush lawns, blooming gardens and shady trees make summer a lovely time of year to enjoy the outdoors. Unfortunately, for seasonal allergy sufferers, a leisurely stroll through the park could lead to a sneezing, sniffling, itchy-eyed nightmare! With foliage in full bloom, various pollens are consistently circulating in the air. Monitor daily pollen advisories to choose when to stay indoors, or go out later in the day once levels have settled.

#3. Dehydration

With temperatures soaring our bodies lose a lot of fluid through the form of sweat. Dehydration causes a number of harmful side effects including dizziness, fatigue, headache, muscle aches and more. Beat the heat by staying hydrated. Drink plenty of water, unsweetened natural fruit juices and caffeine-free herbal teas. Eat more fruits and vegetables that are filled with water. Limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol as these are both known to increase the risk of dehydration.

#4. Mosquitoes

Enjoying nature is part of any Canadian summer, but along with the summer season comes mosquito season! These pesky insects are not only a nuisance, but can cause discomfort and in extreme cases, illness. They are present (and biting) all summer long, any time of day. To limit bites, make sure you remove any standing water from your surroundings as this is where mosquitoes breed. Wear light coloured clothing and cover up in wooded areas. Use a repellent containing deet, or try a natural brand for a healthier, chemical-free option.

#5. Poison Ivy

Leaves of three, let it be! We’re all familiar with this cautionary rhyme and poison ivy is definitely something to be avoided. The plant grows along the edges of forests, along trail sides and in meadows. Majority of those who come in contact with poison ivy will have an allergic reaction most commonly including an itchy and inflamed rash on the skin. The best way to prevent a poison ivy rash is to learn how to identify the plant, stay on designated trails, wear protective clothing and to wash your skin right away if you think you’ve been exposed to it.

#6. Poor Sleep

During the dog days of summer, the hot and sticky weather forces us to crank up the air conditioning. When it comes to bedtime, the air feels so cold, but it’s too hot to sleep with the windows open. Before we know it, our slumber has turned into a battle of covers on, versus covers off. Experts recommend keeping your bedroom between 18 and 21 degrees Celsius (65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit), so check the thermostat for optimum sleeping conditions.

We hope you’re enjoying a safe and healthy summer!