In order to safely participate in any outdoor activity, you need to properly fuel and hydrate your body. Before heading outside, grab a nutritious snack such as a piece of fruit, yogurt, a handful of nuts and some water or juice to hydrate and pump up your energy stores. Pack an additional nutritious snack and water to take along. Check Canada's Food Guide for healthy eating guidelines and nutritional tips.
Be sun safe while you’re outside:
- Stay out of the sun between 11a.m. and 3p.m.
- Liberally apply "waterproof" sunscreen on or near the water - remember to re-apply again after swimming.
- Wear a brimmed hat, sunglasses, and a breathable long-sleeved shirt and pants to protect you from the sun more thoroughly than sunscreen.
Your normal daily fluid intake requirement can be significantly affected by exercise, sweating, heat or altitude. Be sure to monitor your hydration and proactively drink before you feel thirsty – sometimes your thirst indicator may malfunction when you’re already dehydrated. Pace yourself and allow your body to adapt to the heat and/or altitude.
Watch for early symptoms of dehydration including decreased coordination, lethargy, and impaired thinking. Dehydration can quickly lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and in extreme cases, heat stroke.
If you feel symptoms of dehydration or heat cramps, replenish lost fluids and electrolytes through a sports drink or by eating salty foods and drinking water. If you feel symptoms of heat exhaustion, drink plenty of fluids and cool your core. For severe cases, including heat stroke, treat as for heat exhaustion and immediately seek emergency medical attention.
Hypothermia is abnormally low body temperature resulting from exposure to cold temperatures but can occur at even cool temperatures if you are chilled from rain, sweat or immersion in cold water. Dress properly – in warm layers and with waterproof clothing - to prevent hypothermia. Watch for symptoms including shivering, confusion, slurred speech, drowsiness, low energy.
If you feel symptoms of hypothermia immediately get indoors and into warm, dry clothing. Wrap yourself in a warm blanket and drink a warm beverage (not alcohol or hot coffee). Get medical attention as soon as possible.
Photo: Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism (banner);; NWTT/Terry Parker