Staying safe while enjoying summer

Summer is great time to get outdoors and explore our beautiful region. Whether it’s going for a dip at the beach, hiking one of Halton’s many trails, having people over for a barbeque or enjoying a picnic at a local park, it’s important to remember that making smart choices helps keep you safe. Below are some tips and information to keep in mind while you enjoy all that Halton has to offer this summer!

Beach safety

We are fortunate to have several recreational beaches located throughout the region. Beginning in June, our Health Department staff sample Halton’s beach water to determine if the water is safe for swimming and water activities. The beach water quality results are updated weekly at halton.ca/beach and you can check to see if it’s safe to go swimming before heading to the beach.

Air quality and heat safety

You can help protect yourself from the health impacts of extreme heat and poor air quality by getting environmental alerts delivered to your inbox. This is especially important for people with health concerns such as asthma, families who have children in outdoor summer camps or people who work outside. Sign up to receive alerts at halton.ca/airquality.

As we get closer to summer and higher temperatures, it’s important to drink plenty of water, take frequent breaks from activities and use sun protection. Also remember to visit family members, friends and neighbours at risk from extreme heat to make sure they are staying cool and hydrated. To learn more, visit halton.ca/heat.

Food safety

Summer means firing up the grill and barbecuing. Make sure your food is safe by following these four tips:

  • Clean
  • Separate
  • Cook
  • Chill

After a day of visiting our local farms or farmers’ markets, remember to properly wash and store your fresh fruits and vegetables. To learn more, visit halton.ca/foodsafety.

Mosquito safety

Halton Region staff work hard to help protect our communities from mosquitoes that can carry West Nile virus (WNV). The Halton Region Health Department monitors and helps control the mosquito population to reduce the risk of West Nile virus in the region. Residents can also protect themselves by:

  • wearing insect repellent with DEET or Icaridin;
  • avoiding being outdoors at dusk and dawn;
  • covering up: wearing light coloured clothing that covers your arms and legs; and
  • removing areas of standing water from your home

Practice tick safety when travelling

While the risk of tick-borne diseases in Halton is low, it’s important that residents are aware of how to protect themselves. If you will be around wooded, brushy or tall grass areas, or traveling to areas identified at risk for Lyme disease, you should be especially cautious and know how to avoid tick bites. Halton residents can also submit ticks found on themselves or family members for identification and testing through the submit-a-tick program.

By working together, we can help keep our community safe and healthy, and ensure that Halton continues to be a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. Wishing you all a fun summer in Halton!

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.