Prevention & Recovery

Have a healthy summer

Photography by ©iStock.com/Maridav Image by: Photography by ©iStock.com/Maridav Author: Canadian Living

Prevention & Recovery

Have a healthy summer

1. Exercise with daily
"This summer, I would love it if parents and kids got active and played together. Ask yourself what sport you loved as a child and show it to your kid. What better way is there to show him or her a piece of you than to share something you loved when you were that age?" – Dr. Ali Zentner, internal medicine specialist in Vancouver and author of The Weight-Loss Prescription (Penguin Canada, $24)

2.Play outdoors
"Get your family out playing together this summer. Run around the beach together and jump in the pool with the kids. You're not only ensuring your kids' safety but also setting an active example for them." – A.Z.
 
3. Keep medication out of the sun
"I think many people aren't aware that some medications (including tetracycline and ibuprofen) and herbal medications (such as St. John's wort) leave you more sensitive to the sun, making your skin burn faster. And if medications are exposed to too much heat, they can become ineffective." – Claudia Mariano, nurse practitioner with West Durham Family Health Team in Pickering, Ont.

4. Shade the baby's stroller

"It makes me cringe when I see a parent pushing a stroller with the baby facing directly into the sunlight. Parents often wear sunglasses themselves, but don't notice their child squinting. If you're uncomfortable in the sun, your child likely is too." – Dr. Cheryl Zimmer, optometrist in Kanata, Ont.

 
5. Get desensitized to yellow jacket stings

"It's done by injection. The dose is built up over the course of several weeks until you're receiving an injection that is the equivalent to one sting. Once you have that, you're protected and shouldn't need epinephrine." – Dr. Paul Keith, president of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and associate professor in the department of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton

6. Time to quit smoking
"People who both smoke and spend too much time in the sun have 12 times the risk of developing skin cancer of those who have neither of these bad habits." – Dr. Janis Campbell, dermatologist in Calgary

7. Forget flip-flops

"Wearing flip-flops will lead to pain in the heels, shins, balls of the feet, arches and Achilles tendons. Ankle sprains are also common because flip-flops provide zero support." – Dr. Joseph Stern, podiatrist in Vancouver and president of the Canadian Podiatric Medical Association

8. Stay hydrated
"Your body's fluid and electrolyte needs increase with the temperature and your activity level. Mix 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup 100 percent pure juice and a pinch of salt to make your ultimate replacement beverage – without artificial flavours, colours or preservatives." – Kinga Balogh, dietitian at Southlake Hospital Diabetes Education Centre in Newmarket, Ont.

9. BBQ safely
"Barbecuing at high temperatures – especially high-fat meats – may leave cancer-causing chemicals on the food. Drips of fat can cause flare-ups, and food is exposed to smoke that rises from the burning coals. Reduce your exposure to these carcinogens by grilling leaner cuts of meat, marinating the meat ahead of time or cooking smaller pieces." – K.B.

10. Protect your eyes
"Get yourself a pair of polarized 100-percent-UV-blocking sunglasses. If you plan on spending time on a beach or boat, or near a pool, polarized sunglasses protect you from the glare and reflection of UV rays off the surface of the water." – C.Z.

11. Go easy on the alcohol while in the sun

"People tend to forget how quickly the combination of alcohol and sun can lead to dehydration – and how quickly that can lead to dizziness, headaches and nausea." – C.M.

12. Take a vitamin D supplement
"I wear sunscreen every day, which not only provides protection but also acts as a moisturizer. The supplements help me get the vitamin D I'm not getting from the sun." – J.C.

13. Limit alcohol and caffeine
"Some liquid advice: The alcohol that flows so freely this time of year is a depressant. And if you tend to feel anxious during the summer, you may also want to limit your intake of iced coffees and teas. Caffeine is a stimulant, which can mimic and worsen your symptoms." – Sarah Hamid-Balma, director of Mental Health Promotion at the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division, in Vancouver

14. Be generous with the sunscreen

"Remember to apply sunscreen to your ears (outer edges and inner bowl), neck and, if you have thinning hair, scalp. And look after your lips too. Treat them with a specialized lip balm with sunscreen." – J.C.

15. Stretch before doing outdoor chores

"Take time to elevate your core temperature and do some range-of-motion patterns before tending to your garden or raking the lawn. Without a proper warm-up and cooldown, your muscles may be sore for days." – Libby Norris, fitness expert for "Canada AM" on CTV

16. Wear proper socks
"A pair of moisture-wicking socks helps absorb sweat – and with it the fungus and bacteria that would be sitting in your shoe if you went sockless." – J.S.

17. Get enough sleep

"The longer days and sunshine energize us, even when we're sleep-deprived, so we often overlook the need for at least eight hours of sleep a night." – Pamela Mazzuca Prebeg, personal trainer and athletic therapist in Toronto

18. Count liquid calories
"Watch the number of calories you take in with your favourite alcoholic and sugar-sweetened patio-season beverages. Whether from a cold beer at happy hour or a lemonade after mowing the lawn, calories add up quickly with each sip." – Cara Rosenbloom, registered dietitian in Toronto
 
19. Prepare for anything
"My kids and I never leave home without water, hats and sweatproof sunscreen, and I always bring Polysporin and Band-Aids for the scraped knees and elbows that go hand in hand with kids and summer." – P.M.

20. Shop local
"Take the family to a pick-your-own farm or local farmer's market to pick up your seven to eight daily servings of fruits and veggies. You'll learn about how your food was grown, and the fresh local produce you'll be enjoying helps ward off cancer, heart disease and diabetes." – C.R.

Check out our tips on how to have the best summer in Canada. If you have restless little ones, here are fun things to do with your kids this summer.
 
This story was originally titled "Summer health guide" in the July 2013 issue.

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Prevention & Recovery

Have a healthy summer

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