Summer is here, and we want to enjoy it. We've been waiting for it for so long! It is finally time to sunbathe at the beach and go on that forest hike, or rafting trip we have been dreaming about.
But for the reality to match the fantasy, a minimum of prevention is required. Because if winter is full of dangers, the same applies to summer. However, we are a little less wary of it because it easily mesmerizes us with its warm and enveloping rays.
So let's have a safe summer with these simple but wise tips.
Lounging in the sun in total safety
The sun can be our best friend as well as our worst enemy. Dehydration, skin cancer, and aging cataracts are all waiting for us if we don't learn to tame them. Establishing good habits can make all the difference.
In the summer, we tend to get dehydrated quickly. Seniors are more likely to suffer from this phenomenon. Therefore, it's crucial to pay attention to it. Obviously, we should not hesitate to drink. We should drink about 1.5 liters of water in a day. It is good to remember that when we are thirsty, we are already dehydrated. Therefore, we should not wait until feeling the need to drink but rather hydrate regularly.
How to avoid excessive heat
One strategy is, of course, bathing. What could be better than lounging in a pool, a lake, or simply in a nice refreshing bath?
Another option is air conditioning. If you have an air conditioning unit, you have the perfect equipment. If you don't, you may have people around you who do and would be happy to host you for a friendly afternoon chat. Some high-rise apartments and even some seniors' residences provide this service. Otherwise, why not turn an unpleasant situation into an opportunity to get out and explore? The vast majority of malls, restaurants, stores, cafes, museums, cinemas, and art galleries are air-conditioned. It's the perfect time to go enjoy them.
If none of these means are available to you, some other tips can help. While it's understandable to want to get as much sun as possible after a long winter, in case of a heat wave, you should avoid exposure to the sun between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Look for shade under an umbrella or gazebo or find a large oak tree in one of your favorite parks.
The proper use of sunscreen
Did you know that even in the shade, it is essential to use SPF 50 sunscreen, which protects against UV rays, and to apply it every 2 hours? It not only prevents skin against aging but also reduces the risk of sunburn and skin cancer. As it is the most common cancer in Canada, with 40% of new cases of cancer year after year, protecting yourself with sunscreen is a good idea. Especially since it's not dangerous, contrary to some urban legends.
Protect your eyes
We don't think about it as much, but our eyes are also vulnerable to the sun. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 20% of cataracts worldwide are caused by overexposure to the sun's UV rays. That's more than 3 million people who could have avoided this problem simply by wearing glasses that block all UV rays. These are sobering figures. Let's give ourselves the means to continue to contemplate the splendors of the world.
Walking in the forest or camping safely
What a joy it is to camp and be in nature! Whether we have our favorite spots or like to discover new places each time, these are often magical moments. As long as we don't make unpleasant encounters...
When camping, if you want to keep mosquitoes away, avoid standing water. Make sure garbage cans are covered. A lemongrass-based product will help. You can also cut a lemon in half and insert cloves in it. For direct protection, you can use mosquito repellent. Want to put on your sunscreen too? No problem. First, apply the sunscreen, wait 15 minutes, and then use the repellent. You'll have double protection.
Preventive measures to take before going on a hike
When walking in the forest, the risks of bites are higher, partly because of ticks, which can transmit Lyme disease. But this is certainly not a reason to give up your favorite activity. If you can tolerate it, wear long, light-colored clothing. To protect yourself against tick bites, the Quebec government recommends using a mosquito repellent containing DEET or Icaridin. If possible, avoid walking in tall grass or touching leaves by staying on the marked trails.
If you plan a trip to a national park, ask about the possibility of encountering wild animals and how to react. If a bear is present, buying bear repellent is a good idea. If you encounter a bear, stay as far away as possible, backing up but not turning your back.
And, of course, before you head out on your hike, find out what the forecast will be. Bring water and food, including dried fruit, soft bars, and nuts. Make sure about cell coverage and that you have enough batteries. Let your family and friends know your destination before you leave and when you expect to be back home.
Playing sports safely in the summer when you are an active retiree
What better way to cool off in the summer than in a private or municipal pool? In one of our many lakes in Quebec or in the St. Lawrence River? But beware, some places on the river are more suitable. Do you know the enchanting site of the Bassin Louise in the Old Port of Quebec? It was inaugurated this summer 2022 and is referred as "the first harbor bath in North America".
Quebec is filled with beaches that offer swimming and many activities that will keep you in shape. The province is renowned for its lakes nestled in peaceful and relaxing landscapes. Enjoy a pedal boat, a canoe, or a kayak. The more adventurous could choose the paddle board. Note that the Quebec government verifies the water quality for 125 public beaches. In addition, some sites provide the necessary equipment for your safety, such as life jackets and helmets.
You'll also appreciate the countless bike paths that crisscross the province. Don't forget your helmet and sunglasses, and bring a fresh bottle of water, and a nourishing snack. In your backpack, pack sunscreen and a small waterproof jacket in case of rain.
Don't hesitate to practice all your favorite summer activities. Just plan them and think of everything that will be practical or essential to have fun safely.
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