Quick tips to remember when staying outdoors in summer

A man lying on the grass in the sun with his dog.

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Summer is finally here! Time to hit the beach, camp out, swim or fish in the lake and soak up as much sun as you can. There are so many places to see and activities you can do in and around Manitoba this summer. Your weekends will be packed!

As you plan for your outings and activities, follow these tips to ensure your comfort and safety:

Protect your skin (and health)!

We know that you’ve had enough of the cold, but too much sun can be harmful. Average temperatures in Manitoba can range between 11 °C and 25 °C (or even higher) and the sunlight can be harsh.

To stay safe from heat-related ailments, be prepared. Just like in winter, always check the temperature before you leave the house. Better yet, check the UV index forecast. Too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause skin cancer and other serious health problems (Healthy Canadians.gc.ca). When the UV index is 3 or higher, you will need protective clothing. Check the Canadian Daily UV Index Forecast to know the index for the day.

Some quick tips and reminders:

  1. Wear proper clothing – Time to fold your winter coat and tuque! In Manitoba, you may still need to wear a light jacket as the temperature is usually lower in the mornings. You can take it off later in the day. As much as possible, wear light-colored clothing made from breathable fabric like cotton or linen. Sunglasses, a hat and an umbrella can come in handy.
  2. Stay hydrated – Always bring a water bottle with you when you walk, hike, or bike. Drink cool liquids even before you get thirsty to avoid heat illnesses.
  3. Put on some sunblock – Sunblock or sunscreen increases protection against harmful UV rays when you are outdoors. Look for “broad-spectrum” sunscreen (protects you from UVA and UVB rays) with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or more. If you are going for a swim, choose the water resistant type. Do not put sunscreen on babies less than six months of age.
    Apply sunscreen generously 20 minutes before going out. You will need to reapply it 20 minutes after and every two hours thereafter, especially if you are engaging in outdoor activities that will make you sweat or if you’re swimming. Watch this Sun Safety video from Healthy Canadians.gc.ca for more tips.
  4. Don’t leave people or pets in a parked vehicle or in direct sunlight for extended periods.
  5. Limit your time in the sun – Limit your exposure to sunlight between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. That’s when the UV light is strongest.

Keep those pesky bugs away

You should watch out for ticks as they can carry diseases like Lyme disease. Take the necessary precautions when (and after) spending time outdoors. Here are some tips:

  1. Apply tick repellent on exposed skin and clothing (follow label directions).
  2. Stay in the centre of walking trails.
  3. Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
  4. Inspect yourself, children and pets after spending time outdoors.
  5. Remove ticks as soon as possible from people and pets.
  6. Take a shower within two hours of coming in.
  7. Maintain the grass and shrubs around homes and keep them short. This will create drier environments that are less suitable for blacklegged tick survival

To know more about Lyme disease and other diseases caused by ticks, go to the Government of Manitoba CDC (Tick-Borne Diseases) page.

If you feel that you have any of the symptoms of a tick-borne disease, see your doctor or call Health-Links-Info Sante at 204-788-8200 (toll-free) or 1-888 315-9257.

June to July is mosquito season in Manitoba. Before going outdoors, use insect repellent for protection. You can put it on your skin (on top of your sunscreen) or spray it on your clothing. Don’t know what kind of insect repellent to buy? This article from CTV news can help you: Repelling mosquitoes: A guide to what works and what doesn’t. Test which repellent protects longer and does not cause side-effects.

Avoid going outside after sunset because this is the time mosquitoes are out. But if you can’t help it, protect your skin with repellent and wear light-colored, loose clothing that covers your arms, neck and legs.

Sources: The Government of Canada site (Sun safety basics) and Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors – Communicable Disease Control (CDC).

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