Sunday 15 December 2019
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What She Said! with Christine Bentley & Kate Wheeler

Beating The Heat by Sherry Torkos

beat the heatWe all like to have fun in the sun but it is important to stay safe so that you can enjoy the best of summer’s activities. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures, direct sun and high humidity without sufficient rest and fluids can increase the likelihood of heat related illness. The elderly, young children, and people with existing respiratory problems like asthma are especially vulnerable in hot temperatures.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion can include: feeling thirsty, fatigued, dry lips and tongue and cramps. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can progress into heatstroke. Symptoms of heatstroke include: nausea and vomiting, seizures, disorientation, lack of perspiration, shortness of breath and unconsciousness.

Here are my top tips for beating the heat this summer:

  • Start the day off right: Be sure to include juicy fruit at breakfast. Ripe fruits like peaches, plums, melons, pears and citrus fruits are a tasty way to keep cool and stay hydrated.
  • Include salads in your diet:Eating a salad with summer greens, cucumbers and tomatoes are delicious ways to improve hydration and boost nutrient intake. Tomatoes are particularly good to eat in the summer because they contain an antioxidant called lycopene which can help fight off the damaging effects of the sun’s rays.
  • Proper clothing plays an important role: Always remember to bring a wide-brim hat when spending long periods of time in the sun. Bathing suits and clothing that offers UV protection can further shield your skin from harmful rays. Sunglasses can protect your eyes from UV radiation (which contributes to cataracts and macular degeneration).
  • Sunscreen is a must: Be sure to apply sunscreen before you go outdoors and reapply at least every two hours. Even on cloudy and overcast days, the sun’s UV rays can be intense. Look for a sunscreen that contains mineral-based ingredients (zinc and titanium) such as Goddess Garden Organics. These ingredients act as physical barriers to the sun’s rays, rather than conveying chemical protection. Beware of sunscreens that boast a very high SPF. Anything beyond SPF 30 provides minimal additional protection and some contain potentially dangerous chemicals such as retinyl palmitate and oxybenzone.
  • Stay hydrated: The best way to prevent heat stroke is to stay hydrated by drinking fluids throughout the day. Avoid sugary beverages like pop and juice. They add a lot of unnecessary calories and sugar. To quench your thirst and add some fun to your summer beverages, try sparkling water. Nestlé Pure Life Sparkling Natural Spring Water has a wide variety of natural flavours, such as lemon and raspberry-lime, with zero calories and zero sugar. Just in time for summer, check out ca and pledge to swap one sugary beverage for a sparkling water for seven days to help you get on the right track for staying hydrated.
  • Be a shade seeker not a sun worshipper: While we all feel sun-deprived after long Canadian winters, we need to be careful not to overdose. Keep track of the amount of time you spend in direct sun. If you’re starting to feel dizzy or have a headache, seek shade immediately to cool down.


Sherry Torkos is a pharmacist and author of several health books, including the Canadian Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, 2nd ed. Visit for more information.

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