Summertime and Your Health
Our warm, sunny, summer days can be the greatest time of year for travel and outdoor activities. You might visit beaches, go for a hike, and swim in lakes, rivers, or the ocean. Many of us may travel abroad or set up camp locally in the wilderness. Spending more time outdoors during this time of the year can increase your risk of injury. Consider the following health and safety tips to prepare you and your family throughout your summer activities.
Sun Safety Tips
It’s estimated that up to 80% of a person’s total exposure to the sun happens before 18 years of age. Because of this, it’s good to teach children healthy sun habits from the start. One serious sunburn in childhood can increase future cancer risk by as much as 50%.
Get prepared by choosing a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Remember to apply your sunscreen at least 15-30 minutes before going outside and remember to reapply! Ask your pharmacist if you’re taking medication that can cause sun sensitivity. Also don’t forget to keep well hydrated while enjoying the sun and during excessive sweating. Drink lots of water or ask your pharmacist about an oral re-hydration solution that can also be used.
Protect yourself from Insect Bites
If you’re going camping or hiking, bring some insect repellant with you. Adults should use no more than 30% of DEET and children aged 2-12 years old should use less concentrated versions, generally less than 10% of DEET on exposed skin. Children should not use the repellent on their face or hands. Avoid DEET in children less than 2 years of age unless there is a high risk of complications from insect bites.
There are no data to suggest that DEET is harmful for pregnant or breast-feeding women. However, these women may want to use non-chemical methods (such as protective clothing and avoiding times and places where insects are likely to be present). Best to wear light-coloured clothes, including long-sleeved shirts and pants. Mosquitoes tend to be attracted to dark-coloured clothes.
Travel Health Tip
If you plan to travel abroad to common destinations like the Caribbean or Mexico, visit our Save-On-Foods pharmacy for an update on your booster and travel vaccinations. Anyone planning a trip outside Canada should have a health assessment done about eight weeks before departure. This will allow time to have the appropriate scheduled immunizations and give the vaccines time to become effective.
When planning a trip away from home, consider packing a travel health kit. Here is a checklist of items you should consider. The contents of your kit will vary depending on your health conditions, the health conditions of anyone travelling with you, your destination, and your length of stay. For additional resources, visit: www.travelhealth.gc.ca for travel health notices and vaccines and medication recommendations.