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Keep safe and healthy this summer

January 25, 2013


Keep safe and healthy this summer

Canterbury District Health Board is reminding people to stay safe and stay healthy in the hot weather this summer.

Dr Alistair Humphrey, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, says on these hot days people needed to be safe outdoors by being sun smart, following water and food safety messages and by being aware of potential waterway infections.

“It is important people protect themselves from the sun’s harmful rays with broad spectrum UV sunscreen, cool clothing, sunglasses, and by seeking shade between 11am and 4pm.

“They should also ensure they swim between the flags at the beach or check for any health warnings before swimming in places where there could be potential algal blooms.”

Dr Humphrey says people need to be aware that swimming in rivers, pools and spas also carries its own risks of infection, particularly gastro infections such as Giardiasis.

“Already this year 20 cases of Giardiasis have been reported– compared to 14 for the same time last year,” Dr Humphrey says.

Giardiasis is a parasite and causes severe stomach cramps and diarrhoea. Symptoms can last for months, often only settling after antibiotic therapy.

“We do know there are giardia cysts in the silt of our local rivers based on an ESR report published last year, so it is important to very aware of this when boating or using waterways. In theory, it can also be spread in pools and spas by people who are shedding microbes.

“To reduce the spread Giardiasis and other gastro like illnesses it is important people wash and dry themselves properly after swimming in rivers and pools and if they have had diarrhoea symptoms they should stay out of pools and spas for at least two weeks after their symptoms have subsided.”


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