Health: Stay Safe And Healthy On Summer Vacation

By on May 7, 2017

It’s summer vacation time and while your days may seem carefree, filled with sunshine and outdoor activities, there are still a few simple things that you can do to ensure a safe summer.

Fraser Health has put together a list of ways in which you and your family can stay safe and healthy this summer.

Be sun smart.

vacation Any time you are outdoors in the sun, remember to slop on water resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher that provides broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection. Apply 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply often, especially after perspiring or going in the water.
Even in overcast conditions, you can get a sunburn. Up to 80 per cent of the sun’s rays can penetrate light clouds, mist and fog, and up to 85 per cent can be reflected back from surfaces such as water, concrete and sand.
Wear a hat with a 3 inch brim, light coloured, loose-fitting clothing and 100 per cent UV blocking sunglasses.
Avoid planning strenuous activities when the sun is at its hottest from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
On warm days, don’t leave your children or pets in parked vehicles. Also, check in on elderly people living alone as they are one of the highest risk groups for heat related illnesses.
Recognize the signs of heat related illnesses: excess or the absence of perspiration, headache, dizziness and nausea, changes in mental status and laboured breathing.

Eat safe.

Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before, during and after handling all types of food.
Keep raw meats and ready-to-eat foods separate. Always pack raw meat on the bottom of the cooler.
Keep cold refrigerated foods like luncheon meats, pasta salads or other perishable foods in an insulated cooler packed with lots of ice or several ice packs. If possible, store drinks in a separate cooler.
When grilling foods, cook to proper temperatures. When in doubt, use a probe thermometer to ensure that all meat and poultry have reached a safe internal temperature (at least 71° C or 160° F) to kill harmful bacteria that cause food borne illnesses.
Immediately store leftovers in separate, shallow, covered containers in the refrigerator and eat within two days.
Clean and sanitize all surfaces, and cooking and eating utensils, especially after coming in contact with raw meat.

Play safe.

Always wear a helmet and other protective equipment when biking, skateboarding or rollerblading, and ensure good fit and proper use of gear.
When participating in an outdoor activity in the evening, wear lightly coloured, reflective clothing so you are visible to others. If bike riding, install front and rear reflectors on bikes.
When hiking, bring enough water and easy to carry snacks that provide plenty of energy. Make sure you let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
Drink cool, non-alcoholic, decaffeinated drinks often to prevent dehydration.
If you have headphones on, ensure you can still hear your surroundings.

Swim safe.

camping Swim only in designated swimming areas and always swim with a buddy.
Children require constant supervision around pools. A child can drown in seconds in only a few inches of water.
Never swim farther or in deeper water than you can handle.
Never dive into unknown water. Underwater objects may appear deeper than they are.
Some pools, hot tubs and even lakes can contain bacteria that can make you sick. Avoid swallowing water or entering the water if you have an open wound or an infection to reduce your risk.
If you own a pool, install a fence with a gate that cannot be opened by a child.

Camp safe.

Check the weather forecast before you leave and bring appropriate equipment.
Keep your clothing, sleeping bags and important gear dry at all times. Wet clothes and sleeping bags contribute to heat loss.
Bring emergency supplies including a first-aid kit. This should include band aids, antiseptics for cuts and scrapes, pain relievers, treatments for food and insect allergies, a map, compass, flashlight, whistle and a knife.
Disinfect water taken from lakes, rivers, mountain streams and ponds no matter how clean it looks. When in doubt, boil water for five minutes.
Be aware of any potential hazards on your campsite by completing a thorough check when you arrive.
Practice fire safety by making sure your fires are always attended and away from your tent. Extinguish fires with water or sand, and remember that embers can remain live for hours.
Avoid unwanted encounters with animals and insects by storing food in a cooler in your car. Never leave food unattended outside or in your tent.

Fight the bite.

summervacation Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by keeping your yard free from standing water. Empty things such as flowerpots, bird baths or backyard pools.
Install screens on windows and doors.
Limit the time you spend outdoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
Wear mosquito repellent and follow the manufacturers’ directions for safe use. Repellent containing DEET is most effective – up to 30% DEET for adults and10% for children (not recommended for infants).

If you must apply both DEET and sunscreen, apply the sunscreen first and wait 20 minutes before applying DEET.
Wear light-coloured long sleeves and pants and avoid using perfumes or scented products.
For health related questions or concerns, call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 or visit, 24 hours a day/seven days a week.

Fraser Health provides a wide range of integrated health services to the largest and fastest growing population in B.C. The health authority is committed to improving the health of the population and the quality of life of more than 1.5 million people living in communities from Burnaby to White Rock to Hope.

Vancouver Coastal Health is responsible for the delivery of $2.8 billion in community, hospital and residential care services to over one million people in communities from Richmond through Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.

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