How to stay safe and healthy this summer

3 MIN READ December 4, 2018
Summer is a favourite time of year for many Kiwis, usually signalling a period of celebration and relaxation, backyard barbecues and beach days. But along with these festivities, a few less-than-fun situations can occur if we’re not careful. We’ve put together some things to remember…

Be sunsmart

Most of us like to think that we know how to protect ourselves from the sun by now – the old slip, slop, slap and wrap routine has been ingrained into us since childhood. But it gets easy to forget just how harsh our sun can be, and unfortunately with sunburn, you don’t usually know you’ve been hit with it until hours later when you’re showering and it’s not very pleasant!

To avoid getting burnt this summer, make putting sunscreen on your first priority of the day. Sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes before sun exposure so if you make it the first thing you do, you’ll be sorted! Also make sure you’re using a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or more and invest in a waterproof type if you plan on going for a dip.

Keep bugs at bay

The last thing you want is for those pesky mosquitoes and sandflies feasting on your skin while you’re trying to enjoy the summer evenings outdoors. Whilst sandflies are more of an annoyance, mosquitoes can carry pretty nasty diseases so you’ll need to deal with them swiftly.

Make sure that you’ve got some insect repellant handy if you’re going to be outside, especially during the evenings or near water. You can also light some citronella candles outside to keep mosquitoes away.

If you do get bitten, make sure to apply some antihistamine cream on the bite. You can also use calamine lotion to relieve itching, and ice cubes are great to reduce swelling and redness. If you have a more serious reaction to a bite, do seek urgent medical attention.

Swim between the flags

If you’re heading to the beach and planning to go for a swim, make sure you take care. Remember to always swim between the flags where there is a lifeguard present and ensure lifejackets are used when out on boats.

Always supervise young children near water, even if it’s only a shallow area and ensure any older children don’t go in too deep if they aren’t confident swimmers. Rip currents can be difficult to spot and sweep swimmers up very quickly so be cautious when swimming and look out for any ripples in calm water or discoloured and murky water.

Be food savvy

For most of us, food is a big part of the summer holidays – Christmas dinners, backyard barbecues, to name a few. With so much food, more insects, and warmer temperatures, it’s important to keep ourselves safe from getting sick.

Remember the four C’s here – Clean, Cook, Cover, Chill. Clean hands and surfaces, particularly when working with meat, make sure food is cooked properly, cover any food that’s out in the open, and make sure that if things need refrigerating they are chilled as soon as possible.

Barbecues are also more in use this time of year than ever so remember to be safe when using them – keep looking when you’re cooking and make sure food is thoroughly cooked. Alcohol consumption is also significantly higher during this time of year so if you’re serving or drinking alcohol, ensure you have enough food and that you keep hydrated with water.

Here’s to a safe and healthy summer!


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