Protect Yourself During Garden Sunshine

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With long range weather reporting a 30-degree heatwave during the last week of July and August make sure you protect yourself while enjoying the sun in the garden.

Life is all about the simple things, such as spending a sunny afternoon in the garden with an iced coffee in hand. That said, it’s important to know how to protect yourself while enjoying the warm weather in the garden. With safety risks associated with pools and barbeques, as well as the possibility of getting sunburnt being a big concern, there are a few precautions you need to take:

Wear SPF

Lying out in the sun for too long and without adequate protection can be dangerous. Too much sun exposure is a big risk factor for skin cancer, which is why wearing SPF is an important way to protect yourself while enjoying the


warm weather in the garden. We need to spend some time in the sun to get vitamin D, however, make sure to wear suncream, and re-apply it regularly.

The rule of thumb is to apply sunscreen half an hour before going outside and then reapplying it every two hours. This time frame applies regardless of whether you wear factor 50 or 15. There’s an urban myth that these numbers


represent how long they last before you need to put on more, for example, factor 50 lasts 5 hours, but this isn’t true. These numbers are an indicator of how much UV rays they can block out. SPF 15 can block out 93% of UVB rays


while SPF 50 blocks out 98%. Most people opt for SPF 30 which blocks out 97% of UVB rays.

If you sweat a lot or have a pool, then you need to reapply sunscreen more often.

Spend time in the shade

Sitting in the sun all day is a big factor in developing heatstroke. If you’re feeling a bit too hot, sit in the shade or put up a parasol to block out the sun. You still need to wear sunscreen if you’re sitting under an umbrella as some UV


rays can actually penetrate through fabric, and bounce off surfaces.

Children, the elderly, and people with chronic illnesses in particular need to spend the most time in the shade. Make sure to keep an eye on vulnerable people for signs of heat store. Some of the symptoms of heatstroke are: sweating, pale clammy skin, headaches, disorientation, and nausea.

Stay hydrated

Making sure to stay hydrated is one of the most practical ways to protect yourself while enjoying the warm weather in the garden. As we sweat more when it’s hot, we need to replace the fluids lost. While water is the best option, iced-tea is just as hydrating and refreshing. In general, we should drink around two liters of water a day, but the more you sweat, the more fluids you need to replace, so if you find yourself thirstier than usual it’s okay to drink more water than usual. If you’re drinking alcoholic drinks, make sure to have a glass of water in between drinks as alcohol is a diuretic, and will dehydrate you even more.

You can leave an icebox next to your sun lounger, and you don’t even need to sit up to have a drink. You can choose a drinks trolley that is both stylish and practical for any al-fresco occasion and includes a built-in drinks cooler, or go


with an integrated armrest drink cooler.

Take safety precautions with the BBQ

One of the most important summer garden safety tips is regarding your barbeque. Having a family barbeque is a great way to spend some time in the garden, but it doesn’t come without risk.

If you’re having a back garden barbeque, make sure to keep it at least 10 feet away from your house or shed. Never leave the grill unattended, and keep outdoor decor and plants away from the grill too. Make sure to clean the BBQ


regularly and to check for gas leaks before use. In case of emergency, keep a fire extinguisher and a spray bottle of water within reach.

It’s also just as important to clean the grill before use and make sure all food is cooked thoroughly before eating chicken, in particular. To err on the side of caution, you can cook some meats in the oven first and then sizzle them on the grill for a few minutes to give them that smokey BBQ flavor everyone loves.

Mind your feet

If you’ve been lying out in the sun for a while and want to walk back into the house, you might notice that your feet get burnt from the hot concrete. If you’re in the garden barefoot to sunbathe, a good way to avoid burning your


feet is to keep a pair of flip flops underneath your sunlounger or in the shade so you can put them on before getting up.

Cover up

Unless there’s a particularly severe heatwave exceeding 30°C, it’s still possible to venture outdoors during the hottest part of the day, as long as you take adequate precautions. Chief among those should be protecting your head, since it can quickly overheat and cause sunstroke, nausea or dizziness. A widebrimmed sun hat is the ideal head covering for the hotter months to keep you safe and shaded outside.

There’s also the temptation to strip off as soon as the thermometer rises above 20°C. Again, this is not ideal for your skin, so wearing loose, long-sleeved shirts and light cotton trousers is the best course of action when you’re planning your outfit for time outdoors. Light colours are better for time in the sun too, as they reflect heat rather than soaking it up.

Use insect repellent

One of the less pleasant things about summer is the abundance of flying insects everywhere. To avoid bites, put on insect repellent before going outside.

If you’re leaving a window or the backdoor open, you might want to cover them with a screen so nothing flies into the house.

Don’t leave the pool unattended

The fact that you have to wait 30 minutes after eating to swim is actually a myth. It was believed that after eating, blood is diverted away from your limbs and into the digestive tract, and that the less blood in your arms and legs there is, the bigger risk of drowning. While this is partially true, it shouldn’t actually affect you so much that you’ll drown. That said, you still might want to wait for a little after eating before swimming in case you get cramps.

A bigger concern with summer safety if you have a pool is leaving it unattended if you have children or pets. You can cover the pool with a pool cover when it’s not in use. Unlike a commercial pool, you have to act as your own lifeguard which means not exerting yourself too hard or pushing yourself into the deep-end if you’re not a confident swimmer.

Wear gloves when gardening

Your garden might be in full bloom in summer and require some maintenance work. It’s important to wear thick appropriate gardening gloves, especially when using the likes of hedge clippers or sharp shovels. These will protect you from accidentally cutting yourself, but also from tetanus. As the Clostridium Tetani bacteria live in the soil, it can make its way into your body through small cuts and scratches.

Another aspect of this summer safety tip is to make sure you’re up to date with your tetanus shot, which should be boosted every 10 years.

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