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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Parks, campgrounds and other outdoor recreation facilities are now open as quarantine restrictions have been eased in the province. It’s a great time to soak up some sun and ease your cabin fever. Enjoy the outdoors but remember to:

Follow physical distancing measures

Know the distancing guidelines and the rules on occupancy and activity levels that apply to the place you’ll be visiting. Golf courses, campgrounds and other outdoor recreation facilities may require prior booking and/or health screening to ensure safety. Go to the MB government’s Phase 2- Restoring Safe Services to know the guidelines or ask the facility directly.

Protect your skin

Average temperatures in Manitoba can range between 11 °C and 25 °C (or higher). The heat can be harsh. To prepare, always check the temperature and UV index forecast before leaving the house. Too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause skin cancer and other serious health problems. An index of 3 or higher means that you will need protective clothing. Go to the Canadian Daily UV Index Forecast to know the index for the day.

Before going out:

  1. Wear proper clothing – The temperature is usually lower in the mornings so you may still need a light jacket. 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. These allow heat to escape from the body and absorb moisture to keep you cool and dry. Always have shades or sunglasses on hand especially if you’re driving. It will protect you from distracting glare and keep you safe. A hat and an umbrella can also come in handy.
  2. Stay hydrated – Always bring water when you go out for a walk, hike, or bike. Drink cool liquids even before you get thirsty to avoid dehydration and heat illnesses.
  3. Wear sunblock– Sunblock or sunscreen protects your skin against harmful UV rays. The best kind is broad-spectrum as it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. Use one with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or more. Apply it generously 20 minutes before going out. You will need to reapply it 20 minutes after and every two hours thereafter, especially if you will be doing activities that will make you sweat or if you’ll be swimming. Do not put sunscreen on babies less than six months of age.
  4. Don’t leave people or pets in a parked vehicle or in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. Heat in enclosed spaces can be more intense and can cause heatstroke.
  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 bugs away

Ticks
Stay away from ticks as they can carry diseases (like Lyme disease). If you are going to a wooded area:

  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.
  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, read Tick season in Manitoba: How to protect yourself from bites or the Government of Manitoba CDC (Tick-Borne Diseases) page.

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

Mosquitoes
June to July is mosquito season in Manitoba. Insect repellent can be your friend. Apply it on your skin (on top of your sunscreen) or spray it on your clothing. If you 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.

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.
 
Article updated May 22, 2020.

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

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