Summer is here: ANSES's recommendations for coping with hot weather
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News of 26/06/2015
Summer has arrived and with it, backyard barbecues and lounge chairs. Sunglasses, sunscreen, plenty of water to drink and light eating are your best friends. They will help you to take full advantage of the summer heat and sun. Children and the elderly are more sensitive to the heat, so watch over them carefully. And don't forget your pets, as they too can suffer from dehydration. Here are some important recommendations to help you have a happy, healthy and safe summer.
Sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat: precious allies to protect you from the sun's rays
While the sun is beneficial to health, as it enables the body to synthesise vitamin D, it can also have harmful short-term effects such as sunburn, as well as serious long-term effects, since it is a risk factor in the development of skin cancers.
If possible, stay out of the sun from noon to 4 pm. When outside, we recommend a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and hourly application of sunscreen.
To avoid dehydration, modify your eating habits
Hot weather increases the risk of dehydration. Remember to drink liquids regularly, before you actually feel thirsty. Try drinking water flavoured with syrups, iced tea and chilled soups in order to vary your liquid intake. Limit your consumption of sugar, alcohol and caffeine-based products. It is also a good idea to eat foods with a high water content (watermelon, strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, sorbets and ices, yoghurt, etc.).
Children are especially vulnerable to the heat, so never leave them in the sun, especially in closed spaces (cars, garden sheds, etc.). Offer beverages to children often, at least once every hour during the day, and when they wake up during the night. Give them cool water, in a baby bottle or a glass depending on their age, before they express thirst. If they are old enough to eat a diversified diet, provide them with water-rich foods (fresh fruits and vegetables, fruit compotes, dairy products, etc.).
The elderly also require special attention. It is recommended, for example, that the elderly drink the equivalent of at least 8 glasses of water a day (800 mL), the ideal amount being 13-14 glasses a day.
Outdoor work and sporting activitiesIf you work or practice a sport outdoors, you are especially vulnerable to dehydration when the outside temperatures are high. Make sure your get enough water and minerals to compensate for their loss through perspiration and protect yourself from the heat as much as possible.
Summer is synonymous with barbecues and picnics with friends and family. However, each year, ANSES observes a resurgence of food poisoning cases in the summer months.
Here are some recommendations so you can take advantage of these convivial meals while reducing your risk of food poisoning:
- Store meat in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
- Wash and dry your hands before and after handling raw meat.
- Use one cutting board exclusively for cutting raw meat and another board for other foods, in order to avoid transferring micro-organisms from the raw meat to the other foods (raw salad ingredients, for example).
- Cook meat thoroughly.
- Never reuse the same platters or utensils that you use for cutting or carrying raw meat to serve the meat once it has been cooked.
- Never leave foods outside or at room temperature for more than two hours before returning them to the refrigerator and don’t save perishable picnic leftovers.
- Clean your barbecue and its racks regularly.
Be careful not to break the cold chain
Storing foods at cold temperatures slows the growth of micro-organisms, thereby limiting food poisoning while preserving food's nutritional qualities and good taste.
Cool living quarters
During the hottest hours of the day, keep shutters and blinds closed. Avoid using electrical devices (lamps, halogens, TVs, computers, etc.) in order to reduce additional sources of indoor heat. Air the rooms in your home during the night.
Activities to stay cool!When the weather is hot, modify your activities and those of your children. Spend time in naturally cool or air-conditioned spaces: shopping centres, cinemas, basements, or to widen your cultural horizons while keeping cool, try visiting a museum, historical monument, etc.
Take care of your furry friends
Animals are also at risk in high temperatures. If you have pets, be sure they always have enough fresh water to drink and shelter from the sun. Never leave them in a parked car, as they run the risk of becoming dehydrated. Make sure to store veterinary medicinal products in a cool place and keep vaccines in the refrigerator.