Guide to safely having fun in the sun this summer
Enjoy a healthy break with some simple tips to ensure you are at your best.
Health guidelines recommend no more than two standard drinks per day — a standard drink is a 375ml bottle of mid-strength beer, a 100ml glass of red or white wine, a 30ml nip of spirits, or a 250ml can of pre-mixed spirits.
If you haven’t used your gas barbecue for a while, check the gas bottle is in date and isn’t leaking, check hoses and connections, and clean any build-up of grease in drip trays and grills.
It can be 20-30C hotter inside a car on a summer’s day – with most of that heat building up within five minutes of leaving the car.
Each year in Australia about 5000 children are rescued from cars. The simple message is not to leave kids or pets in vehicles on hot days.
Deep vein thrombosis is caused by a blood clot forming in large veins in the lower legs. DVT is a risk when people are immobile, such as on a long flight, so reduce the risk by drinking plenty of water, moving your ankles and massaging your calves.
Protect eyes from the sun with close-fitting, wrap-around sunglasses that meet Australian standards. Glasses have five categories of sun protection – SunSmart recommends category two or higher.
This is more common in summer because bacteria grows faster in warm conditions, particularly when food is stored at between 5C and 60C. Cooked meats, dairy products, seafood, cooked pastas and prepared salads are particularly prone to bacteria.
Summer is the perfect time to get active with traditional games such as frisbee, backyard cricket, beach volleyball, or a game of soccer.
Signs of heat exhaustion include muscle cramps, weakness, nausea and/or vomiting, dizziness and clammy skin. The Australian Red Cross recommends resting in a cool place, loosening clothing and having frequent small drinks of water.
Check with your GP at least six weeks before travelling overseas to find out if you need immunisations. Visit smartraveller.gov.au for details.
Most jellyfish stings come from bluebottles, with the sting easing after a few hours. Northern Australia is home to more dangerous jellyfish whose stings can increase heart rate and cause severe pain and vomiting. If you get these symptoms, call 000.
Around one in three children are injured by falls, most often in playgrounds. Look for soft surfaces and teach kids not to push each other while on equipment and to not stand on swings or climb outside safety rails.
Lakes and lagoons
If you’re taking a dip in a lake or lagoon while on holiday, look for fast-flowing water and submerged objects, talk to locals about the area and beware of slippery banks or paths leading to the water, National Parks NSW advises.
- Related: Water safety tips for summer
Reduce your risk of being bitten by avoiding dark coloured clothes, particularly dark blue, and using insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
New Year hopes
Most New Year’s resolutions falter by February. Give yourself the best chance of success by clearly defining the bad habit you want to change, avoid triggers and reward yourself when you stick to your resolution.
If you’re going overseas, look at travel alerts for details of any disease outbreaks. Subscribe to government travel alerts that will flag any health warnings as they arise. Visit smartraveller.gov.au.
Animals can suffer from heat stress so top up water bowls with fresh water or add ice cubes. Sponge pets with cool water and freeze water in a sealed PET bottle and put it in their bedding.
Pets Australia recommends feeding animals in the evening when it is cooler, too.
Spending extended periods of time with family can inevitably lead to arguments. Take time out before things reach breaking point and step away from potential conflict. Go for a walk, find a quiet place or listen to music.
These appear as discoloured patches of water — caused by sand being stirred up. They can also have ripples on the surface while surrounding water is calm. Avoid the dangers of rips by swimming between the red and yellow flags at the beach.
Slip, slop, slap, seek and slide
Slip on sun protective clothing, slop on SPF30 or higher and reapply every two hours. Slap on a broad-brimmed hat, seek shade and slide on sunglasses.
Symptoms include vomiting, dizziness, headaches and drowsiness. Combat sickness with fresh air, facing forward and avoiding big meals. Ginger, peppermint and over the counter medications can ease symptoms.
A 2017 study by Medibank found almost 5.9 million Australians say they feel stressed due to lack of sleep, work pressures and having too much to juggle every day. So, unwind this summer.
Summer is the best time to get vitamin D from exposing skin to sunlight. This vitamin helps our body absorb calcium, which helps build healthy bones.
Kidsafe says it only takes 20 seconds and a few centimetres of water for a toddler to drown. Supervise children at all times when they are at the beach or in a backyard pool.
Use longer days to make the most of “green” exercise — even walking or running in a green space for five minutes improves mood, according to UK research.
Pencil in you time for health. Research from Tel Aviv University found work burnout is linked to a rise in plaque build-up in the arteries that leads to angina and heart attack.
Around a third of people struggle to sleep.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners suggests you aim for seven to eight hours sleep each night, don’t drink alcohol and coffee from late afternoon, avoid having a TV, laptop or mobile in the bedroom and don’t nap for more than 30 minutes.
- Related: How to get a better night’s sleep
Written by Sarah Marinos.