Prevention & Recovery

Summer health checklist

By: Julie Beun

©istockphoto/laflor Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©istockphoto/laflor

Prevention & Recovery

Summer health checklist

By: Julie Beun
Ah, summer. Along with warm days and balmy nights come the constant presence of – slap! – mosquitoes, the tender pink of sunburned noses, stubbed toes on bare feet and scraped knees.
 
So while you've been busy getting yourself ready for bikini weather, we've come up with a checklist that will have you and your family prepared for any – slap! – summer health situation
 
1. Sunglasses
Like skin, the cornea at the front of the eye can become sunburned with too much exposure to UV rays, says Dr. Tanya Sitter, an Alberta-based council member of The Canadian Association of Optometrists. Treatment is usually as simple as dropping in artificial tears and getting some rest. But long-term 
UV exposure increases the risk of macular degeneration, cataracts and some forms of ocular cancer.
Choose sunnies that provide 100 percent UV protection. Look for polarized sunglasses, which help reduce the glare from UV rays hitting shiny surfaces, such as the lake you're trying to waterski across or the windshield of an oncoming vehicle. 
And make sure the kids wear shades too. "If they feel how bright 
it is before they slip on sunglasses, they are more likely to keep them on," she says. And while you're at it, throw on a wide-brimmed hat.
 
2. Sunscreen 
Start with a minimum of SPF 30 and apply it every 30 to 50 minutes and after swimming, advises Melissa Shabinsky, cofounder of Revolution Organics Cosmetics in Ottawa. "Make sure you use lip balm with SPF as well. People always forget about lips in summer," she says. Prevent chapped lips by reapplying every half-hour. Try Green Beaver Certified Organic SPF 30 ($22, greenbeaver.com); the Ontario-based company's product includes micronized zinc so it doesn't leave a pasty white film behind.

3. Bug spray
Say bye-bye to bugs with Mozi-Q ($25, mozi-q.com), a kid-safe homeopathic chewable tablet formulated by Xerion Dispensary in Calgary. Within 30 minutes of ingesting it, you will repel all bloodsuckers, including mosquitoes, fleas, ticks and blackflies. "It turns you into one of those people who are not as tasty to mosquitoes," says company president Erin Bosch. "We can't guarantee you'll never be bitten again, but the reaction won't be as strong." Alternatively, we also love nonspray debugging devices, such as Off! Clip-Ons ($12, off.ca). They attach to your clothes and create a mosquito-repelling aura.
 
4. Food-allergy alternatives
Enjoying a bowl of strawberries and cream is a great way to top off a summer meal. Unfortunately, for many Canadians, a few nibbles could lead to digestive discomfort. Simply swap the regular cream for Natrel's brand new Lactose-Free 35% Whipping Cream ($4.50, natrel.ca) and you're in business.

5. Water bottle 
Adults lose 1.5 litres of water a day through urination and another litre through breath and sweat, according to the Mayo Clinic. Since you get about 20 percent of that water from food, you should drink two litres daily to replace what you lose.
 
If you're a runner, you have another formula to consider: summer plus exercise plus sweat equals dehydration. So before you hit the pavement, down 500 millilitres of water, says John Stanton, founder of Running Room. "If you're out there for more than 45 minutes, you should take water and sip it." He also suggests having a PowerBar Energy Gel ($2, powerbar.ca) before a long run to keep your blood sugar stable.
 
6. First-aid kits 
Scrapes, bruises and burns are bound to happen, says Lisa Widas, trauma program manager at BC Children's Hospital in Vancouver. Keep a first-aid kit on hand, filled with items such as gauze, tape and disinfectant. "And take a first-aid course," says Widas. One thing to remember: Soothe burns from campfires, barbecues and fire pits with a damp, clean cloth rather than ointment. "If you apply a home treatment, it can be difficult for medical providers to take it off in an emergency," says Widas. 
 

                                               
This story was originally titled "Summer Health Checklist" in the June 2013 issue.
           
            Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!

Share X
Prevention & Recovery

Summer health checklist

Login