18 December 2023

Twelve healthy tips for a safe summer

As Western Australians head into summer holidays, spend more time outdoors and travel across the state, WA Health is reminding the community that warm weather can present some health risks to avoid, to have a safe summer.

WA Health Executive Director Environmental Health Dr Mike Lindsay said it was important to be aware of these risks when enjoying the great outdoors.

“Whether you are camping, hiking, swimming or having a BBQ with friends, there are simple precautions to follow to protect your health” Dr Lindsay said.

Avoid water if the water quality is questionable:

  1. If in doubt keep out. Do not swim in water that has a visible scum, looks discoloured, is murky or smells unpleasant.
  2. Avoid swimming in or putting your head under water if you are unsure about the water quality.
  3. If you have a pool, check pool chemical levels each day and empty out wading pools after each use.
  4. Look for posted health warning signs at recreational water sites including the ocean, estuaries, rivers and lakes and follow the advice on them.

Prevent mosquito bites and fight the bite:

  1. Avoid going outside around dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  2. Cover up by wearing long, loose-fitting and light-coloured clothing when outdoors.
  3. Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
  4. Use mosquito nets or mosquito-proof tents when camping or sleeping outdoors.

Dr Lindsay warns Ross River virus continues to be detected in mosquitoes collected along the coastal region between Busselton to Bunbury.

“There is no vaccine or specific treatment for this disease, so as residents and travellers to the area look to spend more time outdoors during the holiday period, extra precautions should be taken to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes,” Dr Lindsay said.

“Increased mosquito activity is also expected in northern regions of WA over the coming months with the onset of the wet season.”

Prevent food poisoning and play it food safe:

  1. Return leftovers to the fridge or a cool esky with ice as soon as possible and do not leave food at room temperature for longer than two hours.
  2. Throw out foods containing meat, dairy products or other perishable goods that have been left out of the fridge for more than four hours.
  3. Keep leftovers for no longer than three days, however this may need to be less depending on the type of food and the way it has been handled.

    Prevent heat exhaustion and beat the heat:

  4. Drink plenty of water, seek shade and always wear sunscreen when outdoors.

Summer also brings an increased risk of bushfires and extreme weather events, so keep an eye on local media, local government communications and emergency warning updates such as Emergency WA.

“It is important to plan, prepare and pack accordingly when spending time outdoors to avoid any health problems,” Dr Lindsay advises.

For more information about healthy swimming, algal blooms, keeping pools and spas healthy, mosquitoes, heatwaves and food safety, visit the HealthyWA website.


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