How to stay safe during summer
Friends, plenty of sun, and exploring the outdoors – there’s nothing like summer in Melbourne! As we approach the warmer months, when we spend more time socialising and enjoying outdoor activities, it’s important to keep safety in mind. From coronavirus (COVID-19) awareness to responsible drinking, check out these helpful tips for looking after yourself this summer.
As cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) decline in Victoria and venues re-open, it’s easy to let your guard down. While summer brings exciting social opportunities, it’s still as important as ever to protect yourself against coronavirus (COVID-19). Remember to follow the Victorian Government’s safety guidelines, including good hygiene, physical distancing, and wearing a mask when required. Easy ways to stay COVIDSafe this summer include keeping hand sanitiser and a mask in your bag, and avoiding large crowds.
Keep your cool
Melbourne summers are known for reaching extreme temperatures, sometimes up to 45 degrees Celsius. Staying cool is vital to avoid heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, dehydration, heat strokes and heat cramps. Make sure to take breaks from sun and heat exposure by spending time indoors – preferably in an air-conditioned space – or finding shade. Wear relaxed, lightweight clothing in lighter colours to stay cool in the sun, and never leave the house without your hat. Other great ways to keep your cool this summer include taking cold showers or baths, or enjoying a chilled beverage with friends!
During the summer months you will sweat more. Make sure to keep your fluid intake high to avoid dehydration. Keep a water bottle with you at all times and aim to drink 2.5 litres of water per day. Remember that, even if you don’t feel thirsty, your body requires plenty of fluids in high temperatures! Watch out for common signs of dehydration, such as dizziness, confusion, headaches, nausea and fatigue. If you experience any of these symptoms, increase your water intake and get out of the sun. If they persist or worsen, seek immediate medical attention.
Stay out of the sun
Everyone loves a day in the sun, but too much time outside during the summer months can cause serious skin and eye damage, which can lead to premature ageing and dangerous skin cancers. Avoid the health consequences of too much sun by taking breaks in the shade, wearing a hat and covering up with lightweight clothing. During the summer months, make a habit of applying sunscreen every day, especially to the delicate skin on your face, chest and shoulders. Make sure you’re using a sunscreen with minimum SPF 15, and preferably higher than 30. If you wear makeup, there are many dry, lightweight sunscreen products available to apply underneath foundation.
While summer is associated with parties and celebration, sun and alcohol can be a dangerous mix. Heat and sun exposure increase the mental and physical effects of drinking, lowering your inhibitions and leading to dehydration. Alcohol also impacts the sensitivity of your skin, increasing your risk of sunburn and skin cancers. Practise responsible drinking by setting limits on your alcohol intake, drinking water and avoiding the sun while enjoying alcoholic beverages.
Practise beach safety
The beach is one of Australia’s most iconic features, and the many beaches around Victoria are fantastic places to enjoy the warm weather. However, it’s important to be aware of the dangers you could find at the beach, such as rips and marine creatures. Rips are powerful currents of water and are the biggest hazard on Australian beaches. They can be very difficult to see, which is why it is important to always swim between the red and yellow flags. You can spot a rip by checking for darker coloured water, ripples surrounded by smooth water, areas where there are fewer breaking waves and anything being pulled out to sea. If you do get caught in a rip, relax rather than trying to fight the current, and attract the attention of a lifeguard by raising your hand. Staying within access to trained lifeguards will also keep you safe from any dangerous wildlife, such as jellyfish.
Watch the roads
Taking a road trip with friends is a fantastic way to experience Victoria’s great outdoors. However, driving in hot weather can pose risks and challenges. As temperatures rise, make sure your vehicle’s air-conditioning is working, and maintain a cool car at all times to avoid heat-related illnesses. Prepare for any unexpected vehicle breakdowns by storing plenty of water and food in your car, maintaining tyre condition, and keeping your coolant and fuel levels high. Don’t underestimate how dangerous sun glare can be, especially at dawn and dusk. Store sunglasses in your car and replace damaged windscreen wipers to keep your windscreen clean.