5 Tips to Stay Healthy and Safe this Summer Season

By Nick Pidd

Summertime is a great time to spend with friends and family. You can have a cookout at your friend’s house or have a BBQ with your family members. However, you want to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself, notably as the heat can cause a range of illnesses. Here are five ways that you can stay safe this summer.

Tip #1 Stay Hydrated!

Hydrate yourself! Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, especially during warmer days and nights. Studies have shown that drinking water has a fantastic effect on our health, so stock up on bottles and take a ton of them with you wherever you go. Especially with exercise, hydration is essential to reduce fatigue and heatstroke. Keeping hydrated also helps us regulate our body temperature. This is super important in the hotter months of the year when we sweat regularly with our daily tasks. Exercising is even more strenuous and can create large sums of sweat. Having a couple of water bottles handy is super important with any activity in summer, even if you are indoors.

Spending any amount of time outside on a 30+ degree day can significantly deplete your hydration levels. Advice from SA Health recommends women should aim to drink 2 litres (8 cups) a day. In comparison, men should drink 2.6 litres (10cups) a day of fluids. It doesn’t just have to be water, either! Most consumable drinks contain lots of water in them; Gatorade and Powerade are perfect as they can provide vital electrolytes, which are very important when sweating.

Some tips for staying hydrated are:

-Having a full glass of water nearby

-Having a full bottle with you

-Having a drink with every meal even if you don’t feel thirsty.

-Eating high fluid meals such as soup, jelly, custard.

-Avoid consuming alcohol, as heavy consumption can increase body temperature and cause dehydration

These are just a couple of easy tips to help you stay hydrated this summer season.

Tip #2 Wear lots of sunscreen

Wear sunscreen every day this summer to keep you safe from skin diseases caused by the sun.

It is important to slip, slop and slap. It’s the time of year when you have to wear a lot of sunscreens. Whether in the morning or the afternoon, even if it’s for a short amount of time, your skin is exposed to UV rays during the day, and it needs protection. Prolonged exposure to the sun can have bad health effects; skin cancer, premature ageing, and even hair loss. SunSmart reports that two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70; that’s over 16 million Australians!

What sunscreen should you use?

There are a variety of sunscreen options out there. However, the general rule of thumb is the SPF number. The SPF typically means the strength of the sunscreen and its blocking potential. The high SPF is generally better. Doctors usually recommend a minimum of SPF30 sunscreen; however, depending on you, other factors such as skin type, high SPF might be more suited. There are also sunscreen’s for different activities such as swimming or general use. Of course, having the right sunscreen for the suitable activity means everything when avoiding getting sunburnt.

When should I apply sunscreen?

Cancer Council recommends that sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before exposure to the sun. This is to make sure that sunscreen is ready to protect your skin when you are exposed to the sun. It is important to cover all skin that might be exposed, such as ears, neck or if you are swimming any skin which might be out in the open!

Cancer Council also recommends reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours. However, if you are swimming, doing sports or sweating a lot, it can reduce the effectiveness of sunscreen. It’s important to reapply often. If swimming every 30 minutes or if frequently sweating every 60 minutes to avoid sunburn.

Effects of sunburn? What can you do?

Sunburn can cause a variety of discomforts and pain. Avoiding getting sunburnt is super important; however not always possible.

Sunburn can be:

-Pinkness or redness of the skin

-Pain and tenderness skin

-Skin that is warm or hot to the touch

-Skin sensitive to heat

And in severe circumstances

-Headache, fever, nausea and fatigue!

-Small fluid-filled blisters

-Eyes that feel painful

How to treat sunburn:

-Use aloe vera! It is great for cooling and healing your skin!

-Have cold showers and baths. Avoid hot water as it makes your skin worse

-Do not go into the sun until the skin is healed

-Try to stay in cool air-conditioned areas at all costs.

-Moisturise the skin to boost the moisture content

-Take pain relief medications if the burns are severe

If your skin is peeling, do not pick it. Allow it to drop on its own. Apply antiseptic cream to new skin to reduce any risk of infection.

Wear sunscreen every day this summer to keep you safe from skin diseases caused by the sun.

What else can I do?

Sunscreen is not the only thing you can do to protect yourself.

-Wear sun-protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible.

-Wear a hat! Broad Brim hats that cover the neck, ears, face and scalp are always the best option

-Wear sunglasses to avoid damage to the eyes that the sun can cause

-Stay in shady, cool areas!

Tip #3 Staying Cool

Staying cool in Summer is one of the best ways to avoid dehydration and sunburn.

During Australia’s Summer season, it can be possible that there will be heat waves. So it is important to make sure you plan around those hot summer days and ensure you stay cool.

-Avoid lots of physical activities on hot summer days

-Turn on your air-conditioning!

-Close curtains, blinds, windows and doors to make sure no heat can get in

-Suck on and have lots of ice cubes. You can flavour them with cordial to add some flavour!

-Visit cool places such as a library or shopping centre to avoid the heat

-And wear summer-ready clothing

What is summer-ready clothing?

Summer ready clothing is light-coloured and loose-fitting clothing!

Wearing light-coloured clothing keeps you cooler because it reflects more sunlight than darker colours do. Dark coloured clothing can contain heat, whilst light coloured clothing will soak up less heat. It is reducing body temperature and decreasing the chances of heatstroke.

Loose-fitting clothes are great because they don’t hold in body heat as tight clothes do. This is increasing the amount of cool air, which can circulate and reduce heatstroke.

Have cold showers in the morning or evening. This can help prevent the risk of heatstroke and reduce fatigue during the day whilst doing fun activities.

Tip #4 Have a plan

Having a plan can be super important, whether it be about camping or day-to-day activities. A plan on what activities you will be doing is super important in the summer season. If the weather is forecasted to be super hot, make sure you plan out what you might need for that day and how to avoid the heat. Bring along any emergency supplies, sunscreen, water or a safety kit to ensure you will be safe in the heat.

Tip #5 Learn First Aid!

First aid can be necessary and super useful in the summer months, with physical activity and increased health risks of minor and major injuries. First aid can help in any situation, with burns caused by heating metals, sunburn scars, cuts and bruises, and even unconsciousness caused by heatstroke.

A first aid course will help you be prepared for any situation that comes your way! It can also teach you about important things you should have in your summer first aid kit, which includes some of the items discussed in this article.

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