Summer is fast approaching! In fact, The Weather Network is forecasting a hot, dry summer for most of Western Canada. Take this time to learn about sun safety and hydration, so you can enjoy the beautiful summer days ahead.
Protect your skin and reduce your risk
Protecting yourself from the sun is a no-brainer: it reduces your risk of developing skin cancer, which is why it’s important to make sun protection a part of your everyday healthy lifestyle. Here are six tips to help you be sun-ready:
1. Avoid sun burning, intentional tanning or using tanning beds.
Did you know that a tan is a sign of skin damage and the body’s response to injury from UV rays? Read more about the risks of tanning, skin and eye damage, as well as skin cancer.
2. Use sunscreen.
Pay attention to the sun protection factor (SPF) and whether the sunscreen offers broad spectrum protection. Look for a product with a minimum SPF 30 to protect against the sun’s UVB, the rays that burn the outer skin layers. You also want a sunscreen that protects against UVA, the rays that go into the deeper dermis layers and are responsible for premature aging and skin cancer. A sunscreen labelled ‘broad spectrum’ will help protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Learn more about sunscreens.
3. Wear sun-protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
Clothing is a simple way of protecting yourself from the sun, but some types of fabrics are better than others. Learn about sun-safe clothing.
4. Seek shade.
If your shadow is shorter than you, it’s time to find some shade, especially between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. (see tip #6 for more info.)
5. Check your skin.
6. Check the UV index and plan accordingly.
On days when the UV reaches 3 (moderate) or higher, be diligent in protecting your skin, face and eyes. In Canada between April and September, the UV index can be 3 or more from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., even when it’s cloudy. Clouds only block 20% of the sun’s UV, so you still need to use sun protection on cloudy days. 
Staying hydrated: how much water should you be drinking?
Based on your body size and activity level, aim for a daily fluid intake of about two to three litres (nine to 12 cups).  When you’re more active and the weather is hotter, you’ll need to increase your intake. Learn about proper hydration during exercise.
Water is one of the best fluid choices, but you can also drink other beverages such as milk, juice, broth/soups, coffee and tea.
Photo Credit: UBC Communications and Marketing