Most of us like to be outside on a nice hot sunny day, but too much sun and heat can be harmful and dangerous. It’s a good idea to know the warning signs and how to protect yourself from the suns harmful UV rays. UVB rays are usually the strongest between the hours of 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. so plan your day accordingly. Maybe you’re spending the weekend around town, or maybe you’re spending it at the cottage. Here are some tips to help you stay safe outdoors this weekend.
Wear light coloured, loose fitting clothing. Choose a wide brim hat made of breathable material so your full face and neck are protected. Put sunscreen on when the UV index is 3 or higher and wear sunglasses that provide protection against UVA and UVB rays. When looking at sunscreens, choose one with a high SPF with a SPF factor of at least 15. Choose one that is waterproof and read the label for best results. Use lots of sunscreen and apply 20 minutes before heading outdoors and apply often afterwards. If someone does get sunburnt, get them into shade or shelter immediately. Try cooling the skin with cool (not cold) cloths. Avoid creams that hold in heat. Use aloe gel to soothe while keeping hydrated over the next few days. If you need to relieve pain associated with the sunburn try ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Seek medical attention if the sunburn starts to blister, facial swelling starts, have fever or severe chills.
Keep children under the age of one out of direct sunlight light to prevent sun damage and dehydration. Find a shady spot under a tree, an umbrella or a canopy. Always provide lots of cool liquids to children. Water is the best source of hydration for your children and you. Never let children stay in the sun for a prolonged period of time, even when wearing sunscreen. Do not apply sunscreen to babies under 6 months of age. Pay the most attention to areas that are the most exposed, such as face, lips, ears, neck, shoulders, back, knees and the tops of their feet. Remember that children lead by example.
Extreme heat events can be dangerous but the health risks are the greatest for infants and young children, the elderly and people with health issues. When there are extreme heat warnings it, is very important to stay cool and hydrated. If you do not have air conditioning at home, go somewhere that does. Pay close attention to those around you and pay close attention to how you feel. Watch for signs of heat illness. Dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting, headache, and rapid breathing are all signs of heat related illness. If you have any of these symptoms, it is best to move to a cool location and drink cool liquids. Water is best.