After the bitterly cold weeks and multiple storms we have had this year, many of you will be heading for sunnier climes in the coming weeks.
Before you stretch out on a lounge chair to catch some rays, here are a few tips for a safer trip.

It’s all fun in the sun… until it isn’t
It’s happened to the best of us. Maybe you didn’t realize the sun was quite so strong, or you fell asleep on a lounger. By then, it’s a bit too late to remind you to cover your head, stay hydrated (not with alcohol!), put on sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) and stay in the shade during the hottest part of the day!
If you get heatstroke, it’s important to lower your body temperature relatively quickly, for instance by taking a shower and sipping water.
What’s bugging you?
Although we may not be hearing as much about it in the media, we haven’t seen the last of the Zika virus. It’s still a concern in the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico, South America, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and Central and West Africa.
The virus is generally benign unless you are pregnant or planning to conceive in the coming months, as Zika can cause serious birth defects. And since the infection can be sexually transmitted, partners must also avoid travelling to at-risk areas. When in doubt, check the Health Canada website.
For other insect bites and stings, remember:
  • If you are allergic to certain insects or foods, never leave home without an epinephrine auto-injector.
  • If someone appears to be having an allergic or anaphylactic reaction, call the local emergency number. Signs include rash, itching, swelling of the hands, feet or face, and slowed breathing.
  • In the event of a jellyfish sting, here’s what to do (and no, you definitely shouldn't pee on the wound).
For other cuts and scrapes, feel free to download our First Aid app so you have treatment information on hand.
The ocean is not at all like your residential pool!

Even if you are a strong swimmer, the ocean poses risks that should not be ignored. Here are a few basic rules:
  • Never swim alone.
  • Obey signs on the beach. The flags aren’t just there for decoration.
  • A lifejacket can save your life… if you wear it properly.
  • Drinking alcohol and swimming in the ocean don’t mix.
If you are caught in an undercurrent:
  • Don’t panic. Try to float for a while if you need rest.
  • Swim parallel to the shore until you no longer feel the pull of the ocean. Then swim diagonally toward the beach, away from your original location, to avoid being dragged back into the current.
 On that friendly advice, enjoy your sunny vacation!
 Please note that the information in this post is for reference only and is not a substitute for first aid training. For information about training partners that offer courses in your area, call our Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-356-3226 or visit our website.