With the weather warming up for the season, Albertans are heading outdoors to enjoy time with family and friends. Cooling off in Alberta’s lakes and enjoying outdoor activities are great ways to stay active and spend quality time with loved ones, but it is important to remember safety tips for heat-related illnesses and recreational water.
Sunburns and heat-related illness:
- Apply a sunscreen that screens out both UVA and UVB rays and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Apply it 20 minutes before going outside and reapply frequently.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses (with a UVA/UVB CSA certified seal). If possible, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts that cover skin.
- Drink lots of water and other non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages to stay hydrated.
- If you feel dizzy, nauseous or faint, you may be suffering from heat exhaustion. Drink plenty of water and get into a shaded area. Keep in mind that children and older adults are more at risk of heat exhaustion and dehydration.
- Hot weather can also cause heat stroke. Symptoms include high body temperature, lack of sweat, confusion, fainting, and unresponsiveness. Move the person to a shaded area, remove their outer clothing and shoes, wrap them in a wet towel, and get medical attention as soon as possible.
There is always a potential risk of injury when swimming, especially in un-monitored bodies of water. Here are a few ways you can prevent water-related injuries:
- Wear a life-jacket or Personal Flotation Device (PFD) in a boat and make sure it fits.
- Young children should wear lifejackets when they are in, on, or around the water. Stay right beside your child.
- Not all beaches are monitored for biological, chemical, and physical hazards. Look for posted signs at designated beaches.
- Unlike the local swimming pool, lakes, rivers and streams may contain disease-causing micro-organisms. Be aware of local water quality advisories, blue-green algae, and cyanobacteria advisories. Do not go near lakes or ponds that are known to have outbreaks of swimmer's itch and be sure to shower or dry yourself off with a towel as soon as you get out of a lake or pond.
- Avoid alcohol or cannabis and any other substance that may impair your judgment before and during water activities.
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.