Summer Health Checklist

Summer is a great time to be outside. But along with the fun also comes the risks for health, like heat stroke, sunburn, dengue fever and food poisoning. Take preventive measures and enjoy summer days safely.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is an acute viral disease transmitted through mosquito bites. In severe cases, the disease can cause death.

At present, there is no effective vaccine against it. Therefore, the best way to stay away from it is to prevent mosquitoes from breeding and mosquito bites.

To prevent mosquito bites, you should:

  • wear light-coloured and long sleeved clothing and trousers;
  • apply mosquito repellent containing DEET to clothes and exposed body parts.

To prevent mosquitoes from breeding, you should:

  • cover water containers tightly;
  • keep drains free from blockage;
  • change the water in vases and for aquatic plants at least once a week;
  • leave no water in the saucers underneath flower pots; and
  • throw used cans and bottles into covered dustbins.
More about dengue fever and preventive measures

The Ovitrap Index

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department(FEHD) has been using Oviposition Trap(Ovitrap) to detect the presence of adult Aedes albopictus, the local vector of dengue fever, in selected areas.

The index is classified into 4 levels and specific preventive and control measures will be initiated accordingly. Management of housing estates, schools, hospitals, etc. are also advised to take specific measures to control the mosquito problems.

For assistance in mosquito control or prevention, you can contact the district pest control offices or Pest Control Advisory Section of FEHD.

Learn more about the ovitrap index and advice on mosquito control in various premises

Heat Stroke

As it gets hotter, we are more likely to sweat and breathe more heavily to cool down the body. If the cooling system of our body does not work properly, it may lead to heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.

Who are at risk?

  • The obese
  • The sick, including those with heart disease and high blood pressure
  • The elderly
  • Children

Some tips to prevent heat stroke:

  • Wear light-coloured, loose and air permeable clothing.
  • Bring and drink plenty of fluid.
  • Avoid drinks containing caffeine and alcohol.
  • Do not engage in prolonged activities such as hiking or trekking under extremely hot weather.
  • Perform outdoor activities in the morning or evening, if possible.
  • Stop the activity immediately if feeling unwell.
More information and tips to prevent heat strokeTips to prevent heat stroke at work (pdf file)Learn about the Very Hot Weather Warning

The Home Affairs Department offers temporary night heat shelters to the needy as necessary when the Very Hot Weather Warning is in force.

Check out the Temporary Night Heat Shelters

Sunburn

While you are enjoying the abundant sunshine in summer, be aware that the sun also emits Ultraviolet (UV) radiation to which overexposure may cause:

  • painful sunburns;
  • wrinkling and premature ageing of skin; and
  • increased risk of developing skin cancers and cataracts.

Here are some tips for protection against UV radiation.

  • Avoid staying outdoors for prolonged periods when the UV Index is high.
  • Seek shaded area.
  • Wear a broad brim hat or use an umbrella.
  • Wear long-sleeved and loose-fitting clothing.
  • Wear UV blocking sunglasses.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen lotion blocking both UVA and UVB, with a SUN Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or above for UVB.
Check the latest UV indexMore about UV radiation and protection tips

Food Safety

The hot and humid climate of summer provides a perfect environment for bacteria to multiply, which means you have to pay more attention to food safety and environmental hygiene.

Eating unclean or contaminated food can cause food poisoning and its symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.

Some tips for buying and handling food:

  • Buy food from hygienic and reliable shops.
  • Select fresh and wholesome food. Do not buy food with abnormal colour or foul smell.
  • Raw and cooked foods should be stored separately.
  • Keep your fridge’s temperature at 4 degrees Celsius or below and your freezer’s temperature at -18 degrees Celsius or below.
  • Do not overstuff your fridge.

Some tips for cooking food:

  • Scrub and rinse the shells of shellfish, and remove all the organs. Then cook it thoroughly and discard the juice.
  • Wash vegetables in clean water and soak in water for one hour or blanch in boiling water for one minute.
  • Use separate utensils,including knives and cutting boards, for raw and cooked food.
  • Cook food thoroughly.
  • Eat your cooked food as soon as possible after cooking.
5 keys to food safetyMore information on food safety and nutrition in Consumer Zone
Last review date: June 2013