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July 4, 2023

Now that we are entering the warmer months of the year, WTDEP has created your summer safety checklist to help you enjoy the great outdoors, and staying well too.

1)     Wear sunscreen: Protect your skin from damage associated with prolonged sunlight by applying sunscreen; ideally with an SPF above 30. If you are planning to be outdoors for several hours; or if your skin becomes wet; ensure to bring some sunscreen with you to reapply as needed.

2)     Wear sun glasses & a hat: Prolonged exposure of your eyes in sunlight; and its associated UV radiation; can both be irritating to your eyes and increase risk of accelerated eye deterioration and/or eye complications such as cataracts. Wearing good quality sunglasses; and a hat with a brim to block any additional sunlight are a couple of ways to take care of your eyes this summer and in future.

3)     Choose clothing that keeps you cool: When planning what to wear this summer; try to find clothing items that are light in colour; loose fitting; and covers your skin from sunlight will keep you the most comfortable. Clothing that leaves your skin exposed to sunlight will have you feeling warmer; and put you at increased risk of getting a sunburn. As we age; our bodies have diminished ability to regulate our temperature; such as through sweating, so it is helpful to wear loose fitting clothing to keep cool.

4)     Stay hydrated: Ensure you are drinking plenty of water during these warmer months. If you are planning to be outdoors, always bring a water bottle with you. When planning a day outdoors; take note of areas of access to public washrooms should you need them while keeping yourself hydrated. People who have Diabetes are at increased risk of dehydration compared to people without diabetes; so extra care needs to be taken to remain hydrated. Take note of medications you may be taking that place you at an increased risk of becoming dehydrated*

It is also a good idea to avoid certain beverages that will also make you more dehydrated, such as alcohol and caffeine. If you plan to be active and are thinking of trying a sports drink; check the nutrient label for added sugars and choose sugar free options when possible.

5)     Plan your more strenuous activities during the cooler parts of the day: Summer is a great time to get outdoors and be active, but where possible; schedule your more strenuous activities when the temperature is cooler out. For example, if going on a walk or bicycle ride, plan to go in the earlier morning or evening when the sun and heat are less intense then the middle of the day. Other activities can be scheduled on cooler; less sunny days. If you are outdoors during the middle parts of the day (between 10 AM – 2PM) when the sun and heat are most intense – aim to stay in the shade as much as possible.

6)     Choose supportive footwear: Protecting your feet should always be a priority in staying well with Diabetes.  Avoid going barefoot where possible. Planning to go to the beach? Wear wide; thick soled, supportive foot wear to protect you from sharp seashells, rocks or anything else that could come into contact with your foot. In the hotter months; your feet may sweat, which can put your feet at risk for increased friction/sliding in certain types of foot wear, which can put you at risk for skin breakdown. When possible – choose a well-fitting running shoe with moisture absorbing socks to keep your feet dry and well supportive as you spend time outdoors.

Certain summer footwear, such as flip flops or other strappy sandals can put you at increased risk for skin breakdown and excessive pressure or friction on different areas of your feet.

7)     Follow heat advisories: Certain days may not be ideal to be outside for long periods – have a look for any Heat Advisories in your area – and plan to be indoors these days – ideally in an air-conditioned space. If you do not have access to air conditioning in your home; many shopping centers; libraries will have air conditioning or search nearby cooling centers in your neighbourhood.

8)     Let your family/friends know when you plan to be outside: If you are planning to be outside on a hot day, let someone know your plans, and to have them check on your periodically to ensure you are doing alright (ex. Planning to walk the park for 30 minutes). If possible, carry a cell phone with you to stay in close contact with family/friends, who you can call for help if needed.

9)     Keep your medication and diabetes supplies safe – take precaution to any medications you may be taking that are sensitive to heat/light – (ex. Insulin). If you are unsure; check your medication label; or ask your pharmacist if any precautions need to be taken. Most blood glucose test strips are sensitive to heat/light, so ensure your strips are secured in the closed bottle caps, out of the sun.

10)  Traveling this summer? Book an appointment with your Primary Care provider or Diabetes Educator to discuss if there are any precautions you need to take when traveling.

11)  Lastly – know your signs/symptoms of heat stroke and seek medical attention:

High body temperature – a core body temperature of (40 C) or higher
Altered mental state or behaviour.
Alteration in sweating
Nausea and vomiting
Flushed skin Rapid breathing
Racing heart rate

If you have any questions about the summer safety checklist, book an appointment with us by calling 416-252-1928 ext. 100.

Have a great summer!


Helping Seniors Stay Safe This Summer During UV Safety Month

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