Sun | Oct 17, 2021

Tips to enjoy your summer safely

Published:Thursday | July 11, 2019 | 12:16 AMDave Rodney/ContributorThe busy summer travel period is here. Schools and colleges are on vacation, and some families have already made plans to leave home, whether it is for a local church convention, a dream weekend, or a trip overseas. Here are a few essential health safety tips that will help to get you back home in one piece, happy, safe, and sound.

Our Gleaner safety tips come from Jamaica-born director of health for the city of Stamford, Connecticut, Dr Jennifer Calder. She is a graduate of Excelsior High School with degrees from St Stephen University of Budapest, Hungary, Columbia University, and the University of Florida in the United States.

Calder is also a senior lecturer at Columbia University in the Department of Epidemiology, and she is a member of several national and international veterinary, public health, and healthcare-related organisations.


1 While soaking up the summer sun, protect yourself from its harmful ultraviolet rays as overexposure could cause skin cancer. Here are the five Ss of sun safety. SLIP on a T-shirt; SLOP on sunscreen that says SPF 30 or says broad spectrum and SPF 15; SLAP on a wide-brimmed hat; SLIDE on sunglasses with 99-100% UVA/UVB protection; and SHADE from the sun whenever possible.


2 Enjoy the exhilarating outdoors and the balmy trade winds, but protect yourself from ticks and mosquitoes that may transmit deadly diseases. Wear long sleeves, long pants, light-coloured clothing and use approved insect repellent when hanging out in the shade, walking in grass or when outside at dawn and dusk. Cover infant strollers with a net to protect them from mosquitoes. Sleep under a bed net to prevent mosquito bites at night. Check yourself, your children, and pets for ticks after walking outside and promptly remove any tick you find.


3 When relaxing by the pool, practise pool safety. Never leave children unattended in or near pools for any amount of time.


4 If your travels take you to exotic places, talk to your doctor early about vaccines and medications that you may need before your trip. Travel specialists can also help to guide you on any necessary precautions for some destinations, including Central and South America as well as parts of Africa.


5 Food poisoning can occur anywhere, but you reduce your chances when you avoid risky meals. Exercise caution when eating from street food vendors. Safe foods include meals that are cooked and served hot, food in sealed packages, and fruits and vegetables that you have washed in safe water or peeled yourself. Pasteurised dairy products are usually considered safe to eat, too. Similarly, for safe beverages, consider water, sodas, or sports drinks that are bottled and sealed; water or ice that has been boiled or filtered; hot coffee or tea and pasteurised milk.