How to enjoy summer during a pandemic

It’s been a difficult year and the last few months have probably felt longer due to cold weather keeping us inside on top of various restrictions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now that the weather is warming, it’s natural to want to spend as much time outside as possible. With that in mind, we have some tips to keep you safe this summer.

Enjoy the sun safely

The brightening sun is one of the great things about summertime! But the sun can damage your skin if you don’t take steps to protect yourself. It’s easy to let sun protection slip our minds but it’s important to remember to apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30+ at least 15 minutes before going out in the sun.

Don’t forget your face (even when wearing masks) and apply it generously to any skin that is not covered by clothing, a hat or sunglasses. For other tips about how to properly apply sunscreen, visit Health Canada


Keep hydrated

Dehydration is more common during the summer. The sun, humidity, high temperatures can all play a part. Have lots of cold drinks while working outside and take breaks often, ideally in the shade.
To prevent heat-related emergencies, read these tips on staying cool in a Canadian summer. 

Protect from bites

Apply insect repellent before spending time outdoors to protect against mosquito and tick bites.
To prevent insect bites, be sure to wear light colours, long sleeves, and pants. Tuck your pant legs into your socks to ensure your skin is covered and to block crawling ticks. Avoid the use of scented products and apply DEET-containing insect repellent according to the manufacturer’s instructions, avoiding the lips, eyes, or wounds/rashes.
If you get bitten, learn how to treat various insect bites.

Heatwaves in a pandemic

Summertime can have a number of heat waves. This summer, managing heatwaves safely may look a little different due to the ongoing pandemic. Keep in mind restrictions in your community this particular summer.

To prepare for a heat wave:

  • Find ways to keep cool before hot weather starts such as arranging air conditioning and fans and keeping your home cool.
  • Usually, we recommend locating places you can go to get cool such as public libraries, malls, and your municipality cooling shelter so check with your municipality to see what is available to the community given local restrictions. Have masks ready in case you’re not able to maintain two-metres distance from others.
  • Discuss heat safety precautions with members of your household; ensure everyone has their masks ready when needed.
  • Have a plan for wherever you spend time – home, work and school – and prepare for the possibility of power outages.
  • Get trained in first aid to learn how to treat heat-related emergencies.
  • Ensure that your animals’ needs for water and shade are met.

Learn more about what to do during and after a heatwave.

What to do if overheated

Heat-related illness can affect us if we are exposed to too much heat and our body temperatures rise.
If you suspect someone is experiencing heat illness, here are symptoms to look for:

  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Rapid breathing and heartbeat
  • Extreme thirst
  • Decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine
  • Changes of behaviour in children

If you have any symptoms of heat illness during extreme heat, move to a cool place and drink water. If symptoms don’t improve, call 9-1-1. If you are unclear if heat illness is occurring, call 9-1-1. 
Remember to check on family, friends and neighbours who do not have air conditioning or who are more likely to be affected by the heat – and check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Continue to drink plenty of water even after a heat wave.

First aid at your fingertips

For handy first aid tips, download our free first aid app for advice in various emergencies ready at your fingertips.

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