Summer Has Arrived: Staying Safe and Having Fun


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Sun Safety

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Canada. This summer and year-round, practise sun safety and take steps to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun and ultraviolet (UV) radiation.  There is a lot you can do to reduce the amount of ultraviolet radiation you are exposed to.

Educate yourself and others about the health effects of UV radiation and know the basics about sun safety.

Children require maximum protection. They are particularly at risk, as sun exposure during childhood and adolescence appears to increase the risk for health consequences later in life.

Before you head for the beach, the park or even the back-yard, take a few minutes to learn about sun safety. You can protect your family and still have fun under the sun. This advice applies to everyone regardless of age or ethnicity.

Safety Tips

  • Avoid needless exposure to the sun.
  • Protect your eyes by wearing UV blocking sunglasses.
  • Select shaded areas for outdoor activities.
  • Clothing such as a broad brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt, and long pants can protect your skin. Tuck a handkerchief under the back of your hat to help prevent sunburn on the neck.
  • If you can't cover up, use a sunscreen containing a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15, verify it has both UVA and UVB protection, re-apply every two hours and after sweating or swimming.
  • Avoid using sun lamps.
  • Some medication can make skin more sensitive to UV rays, consult your doctor if you have any questions.
  • Don't let infants or children play or sleep in the sun in a playpen, carriage, stroller, etc.
  • Get children used to wearing sunscreen lotion, paying particular attention to the most exposed parts - the lips, face, neck, shoulders, back, knees and tops of feet.
  • People can use both sunscreen and insect repellents when they are outdoors to protect their health.
  • Follow the instructions on the package for proper applications of each product. Apply the sunscreen first, followed by the insect repellent.

Visit Health Canada's Healthy Living for additional information on Sun Safety and Protecting Your Family.


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Air Quality and Health

Air pollution is a year round problem, but in the summertime there are additional factors that can increase air pollution problems. Some pollution results from chemical reactions that require sunlight. Pollutants can build up in stagnant or slow moving air masses that combine local air pollution with what has already been added by upwind sources. Heat and smog can provide a double attack on the vulnerable.

How can you protect the health of you and your family?

You can better protect yourself and those under your care by understanding how air pollution can affect your health, and by checking the Air Quality Health Index on a regular basis. To check the Air Quality Health Index reading for your community or to learn more about how air pollution can affect our health, visit

Community or regional air quality warnings or advisories may be issued when air pollution is above a certain level. Remember though, some people can experience increased health problems below warning levels.

It's up to you to protect your health. When the Air Quality Health Index reading rises, Canadians can:

  • Reduce or reschedule outdoor physical activities
  • Monitor possible symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, coughing or irritated eyes
  • Follow a doctor's advice to manage existing conditions such as heart or lung disease

For more information read the Air Quality & Health section on Health Canada's website.


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Drinking Water  – How to Stay Hydrated

Facts on Fluids

Nothing satisfies thirst better than a tall glass of cold water. During the summer you may be more aware of drinking enough fluids to prevent dehydration. Staying well hydrated when it's hot is definitely a must; however, hydration is important to your health year round. Read on to learn about how much fluid you need to stay healthy and which fluids you should choose most often.

Why Fluids Matter

Fluid is essential! It has many important roles. Fluids help to:

  • Move nutrients and waste through your body.
  • Keep your blood pressure normal.
  • Protect and cushion your joints and organs.
  • Control your body temperature and.
  • Lower your risk of dehydration and heat stroke.

What is Dehydration?

Dehydration is when you lose more fluid than you take in. Below are some of the signs of dehydration: [twocol_one]

  • Thirst
  • Dry lips and dry mouth
  • Flushed skin
  • Headache

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  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Dark yellow, strong smelling urine
  • Low blood pressure and increased heart rate


[divider_flat] You may be dehydrated even if you don’t have any of the signs so it is important to drink fluids often even before you feel thirsty.

Getting Enough

The amount of fluids you need depends on your age, gender and level of physical activity. Remember that you will need even more fluids to stay hydrated in hot weather and when you are physically active.

Use the chart below as a guide to how much fluid you should aim to have each day. Keep in mind that your total fluid intake can include water as well as milk, coffee, tea and juice. Coffee and tea are not dehydrating.

Life stage

Cups/day (1 cup = 250 mL)

0-12 Months 3
Young Children
1-3 years Old 3 1/2
4-8 years old 5
Older children
9-13 year old girls 6 1/2
9-13 year old boys 7
14-18 year old 7
19 years and older 9
Pregnant 9
Breastfeeding 12 1/2
14-18 years old 10 1/2
19 years and older 12


Drinking Water Safety

Drinking water directly from a water source in the great outdoors can make you ill. Ensure the water you drink is safe by following these precautions:

  • Avoid drinking water from sources with visible signs of pollution.
  • Disinfect all water taken from lakes, rivers, mountain streams and ponds no matter how clean it looks.
  • Periodically clean and rinse water storage tanks and containers.
  • Water treated with chlorine or iodine remains drinkable for several days without refrigeration, water treated by other means is best used within two days.
  • Use only good drinking water for brushing teeth.
  • Have cottage drinking water tested by a provincial or private laboratory if it is not municipally treated. It would be wise to disinfect surface water even if it passes these laboratory tests as not all pathogens can be detected.
  • When in doubt, boil the water for 5 minutes.
More information at Health Canada - How to Stay Hydrated.


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Water Safety

Swimming and water sports are a great way for children and youth to be active during the summer season. But, each year, water-related activities lead to drowning – the second leading cause of injury-related death among children and youth. Do your part in promoting Water Safety by learning tips to ensure you, your family and the families and children you interact with enjoy water activities safely this summer. Take the plunge!

Make the pool a fun and safe place.

  • Check with your municipality about rules for fencing in backyard pools. A fence will help prevent accidents -- especially to children.
  • If your pool fence has a gate, keep it locked at all times.
  • Verify all accesses to the pool, such as patio doors, are locked.
  • Always have an adult watching children who are in and around the pool.
  • Teach young children to swim or play within arm's reach.
  • Enroll children in swimming and water safety lessons. For more information, contact your local branch of the Canadian Red Cross or Lifesaving Society.
  • Children under 3 or who cannot swim must wear a life jacket or personal flotation device at all times, in or around the pool.
  • Keep life saving equipment and a first aid kit handy by the pool.
  • Have a list of emergency phone numbers at the phone nearest the pool.
  • Keep toys, garden furniture, and tools away from the pool fence. Kids can climb them to get into the pool.
  • Store pool chemicals out of the reach and sight of children.

Visit the Public Health Agency of Canada’s web section on Water Safety. This link includes fun activities to do with children like colouring pages.


For additional information related to staying safe during the summer months, please visit Health Canada.