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 here! It’s the best time to go to parks, campgrounds, and other outdoor recreation facilities. Enjoy the outdoors but remember to:

Protect your skin

Average temperatures in Manitoba can range between 11 °C and 26 °C (or higher) and the heat can be harsh. Always check the temperature and UV index forecast before leaving the house so you’ll be prepared. Remember that 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. Check the Canadian Daily UV Index Forecast to know the index for the day.

Before going out:

  1. Wear proper clothing – It is usually cooler 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-coloured 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. You’ll need a pair of sunglasses especially if you’re driving. It helps prevent glare that can distract you. A hat and an umbrella may 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 since it provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Use one with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. 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’ll be swimming or taking part in activities that will make you sweat. 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. New Winnipeg pet guidelines prohibit leaving pets unattended in vehicles when it is 22°C or warmer (unless your vehicle is running and has a working air conditioner).
  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

Repel 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 (and carefully!).
  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 go to the Government of Manitoba CDC (Tick-Borne Diseases) page.

If you experience any 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).

June to July is mosquito season in Manitoba. Insect repellent is your friend when going outdoors. 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 outdoors 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-coloured, 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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