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Health unit offers tips for staying safe this summer

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Summer is just starting and the Northwestern Health Unit is encouraging residents and visitors to spend time getting active and exploring the great outdoors.

Whether you are hitting the trails, out on the water, playing at a park, or having fun at the beach, there are things you can do to ensure you, your family, and friends stay safe.

“We are all excited for warmer temperatures but too much heat and too much sun can be dangerous,” stressed Stephanie Charles, a health promoter with Environmental Health.

“Heat-related illnesses are a real risk, especially to those who are elderly, young, or chronically ill,” she warned.

Consider the following to protect the health and safety of yourself and those around you:

  • Keep cool and seek shade (shade is a good way to keep cool and reduce your UV exposure);
  • Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat, and continue to apply sunscreen throughout the day;
  • Stay hydrated (bring a water bottle from home and refill it with safe drinking water); and
  • Check the beach or lake water before you swim (if the water looks murky or there are physical hazards, stay away).

Check our website or download our app for up to date information on beach closures.

The Northwestern Health Unit assesses and monitors more than 28 public beaches across our region.

Health unit staff sample beach water quality and respond to any complaints from the public.

All of the public beaches that are monitored by the health unit have signs displayed, which gives people information on how to decide if it is safe to swim based on the current beach conditions.

A red sign is posted when there are very high levels of harmful bacteria or other hazards in the water that make it unsafe to swim.

Individuals should not swim at beaches where this red sign is posted.

You also should note that some beaches and all playgrounds across our region are smoke-free.

For more information on any of the above topics, visit www.nwhu.on.ca or contact your local health unit office.

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