If you’ve set foot outdoors this summer, you know that temperatures have reached record highs.
While the heat can mean beautiful beach days, sunset picnics, and other summer adventures, it also comes with a higher risk of heat-related emergencies.
Stay safe, cool and comfortable outdoors with these six tips:
1. Stay hydrated
Water is essential every time you step into the summer heat.
Whether you’re relaxing on the beach or going on a hike, a reusable water bottle will help keep you cool and hydrated.
Hikers tackling moderate or difficult trails should carry an extra water bottle (large trails like the Crack require an extra water bottle). minimum of 2 L of water per hiker).
Not a big water drinker? Consider carrying electrolyte tablets to add a little fizz to your bottle and help you stay on track with your hydration goals.
Leave coffee and other caffeinated drinks at home – they will simply dehydrate you more!
Are you in the market for a new reusable bottle? Take a look at our park store!
2. Wear a hat and sunscreen
Protect your skin from burns this summer!
Keep your hat on and liberally apply high SPF sunscreen. And we mean liberally!
Perspiration? Reapply your sunscreen.
Swim? Reapply sunscreen!
Planning to work up a sweat on a difficult hike? Consider opting for long-sleeved, moisture-wicking SPF clothing to provide more consistent coverage. Just be sure to apply a high SPF sunscreen to any skin that clothing doesn’t cover.
3. Start your walks early or later
Avoid hitting the trails when the sun is at its highest.
Start your hike early in the morning or a little later in the afternoon.
That said, be very careful not to start the hike too late! Walking in the heat is dangerous, but it is also dangerous after dark. Always allow enough time to return from your hike. Plan to leave the trail before the sun sets and always inform a trusted person about the details of your hike.
4. Take a dip!
Cool off by swimming frequently. This is especially important on days when humidity is high.
We recommend bathers stay within the designated buoys on our beaches. These areas typically include gently sloping beaches and softer bottoms.
Parents: please supervise your children at all times. Life jackets are recommended for children and weak swimmers.
Get all the information about water safety in parks.
5. Keep things murky
Many day-use areas of provincial parks feature large, beautiful trees that provide shade for your friends and family to enjoy.
Take advantage of these shady places to rest and recover from the summer heat.
No shade available? Bring a beach umbrella and make your own (just make sure you don’t block anyone’s view of the beach!).
6. Keep it low and go slow
We completely understand how disappointing it can be to not be able to do the big hike, the big paddle, the epic bike ride you had planned for your vacation. It can be difficult to cancel or change plans due to high temperatures, but doing so can ensure that you feel well enough to enjoy the rest of your free time.
When planning and adapting activities for hot days, remember to “keep it low and go slow.”
Try to keep your heart rate in a moderate range (low!) and do gentler, lighter activities than on a cooler day with optimal conditions (slow!).
Do you want to explore during the colder temperatures? Consider visiting your favorite provincial park in the fall!
7. Know the signs of heat-related emergencies
High temperature days aren’t just sweaty. They can also be dangerous, especially to older people and children. Be sure to pay attention to how you and the people you ride with are feeling throughout the day.
The Canadian Red Cross describes the symptoms of heat exhaustion as:
- moist, red, or pale skin
Take anyone who experiences these symptoms to a cool place and give them water immediately.
The symptoms of heat stroke are more serious:
- red, hot and dry skin
- strange or aggressive behavior
- progressive loss of consciousness
- fast, weak pulse that becomes irregular
- rapid, shallow breathing and seizures
If you or someone in your party experiences symptoms of heat stroke, call 9-1-1.
Are you traveling with a pet? Take the time to learn how heat exhaustion affects them and how to avoid it.
Remember: never leave children or pets in vehicles or in direct sunlight unattended.