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How to clean your BBQ with an onion and 15 other pro tips

Visit the Summer Forecast Guide to the Season for the 2017 Summer Forecast, Fall Weather Preview and much more.

Digital writers

Tuesday, May 23, 2017, 8:30 PM - Things are warming up across the country, and with the Victoria Day long weekend approaching, many people are getting into a summer mindset. 

Residents in several locales, including the Greater Toronto Area are getting ready for the temperature to soar to around 30oC, a striking contrast from the extended winter chill that hung around far too long for most. 

That said; you may have forgotten what it is like to live in hot weather. Here are some easy tips to help you make the most of the warm weather while it lasts:

SUMMER IS HERE: With El Niño helping shape global patterns what will Canadians expect from summer? Find out with The Weather Network’s 2017 Summer Forecast | FORECAST & MAPS HERE

1: Stay Hydrated 

As the snow melts away in most of the country and you start to spend more time outside, it is important to drink plenty of fluids to stay cool. Water is the most effect fluid for hydration – the worst being pop, and fruit juices with added sugar. You should drink around 3 litres of water day, and you should up your intake even more in hot weather. If you get bored of drinking only water, try to add slices of fruit, vegetables, or mint and basil leaves to your water. If that still won’t do it for you, black coffee and tea won’t dehydrate you if you drink them in moderation.

If you are still on the fence, this article on 5 horrible things heat does to the human body should help you decide to fill up that water bottle.

2: Sunscreen | UV REPORT

Use plenty of sunscreen, even on cloudy days.  Try a product with at least 30 SPF, and use it generously. Re-apply sunscreen right away after swimming or sweating. Sunscreen protects us not only from sunburn, but also skin cancer and premature aging. To protect yourself from the sun, avoid spending too much time in the sun around midday, and wear a hat and sunglasses.

3: Get moving, but proceed with caution

If you’ve been sedentary this winter, or are simply picking up a strictly outdoor activity after a season-long break, you may be putting yourself at risk for injury. Always remember to stretch before physical activity, and practice moderation when reviving old hobbies. 

4: Barbecue maintenance:

Eating fresh from the grill is one of the greatest joys of summer, so make sure you keep your cool while firing up the BBQ this year. Some best practices include:
• Cleaning and oiling the BBQ after every session
• Keeping heat consistent -- don't rush. 
• Using marinade to help break down the meat.

Clean your BBQ with only an onion, here's how

5: The bugs are back:

You're going to be sharing the great outdoors with the likes of mosquitoes, ticks, blackfies, and spiders. . Most of these bugs are harmless, even if they do decide to bite you. However, there is a small risk in Canada an insect could carry Lyme disease or West Nile Virus. In most cases, the bites range from a little bit itchy, to downright irritating. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing an insect repellent with at least 20% DEET. 

6: It's allergy season | ALLERGY OUTLOOK

Pollen is a grainy, yellow substance that aids in plant reproduction. It is mean to hop from plant to plant via air current or bees and insects, but often ends up in the air we breathe. For pollen allergy sufferers, this can mean symptoms that mimic a stubborn cold: itchy eyes, sore throat, sneezing, coughing, etc. Depending on where you live, grass and tree pollen should point the needle tp high for the summer months. Make sure to avoid plants that trigger your allergies, shower after being outside, and never dry your clothes outdoors. Remember to take your antihistamines as prescribed by your doctor.

7: Summer car maintenance

Before gearing up for your annual road trip, make sure your car is in summer mode. Firstly, consider switching to a summer tire. Summer tires helps your car’s performance in hot weather, and are ideal for braking in both dry and wet temperatures.  Make sure your can is properly maintained, especially when driving long distances in hot weather. For example, make sure your coolant has been recently changed.

8: Avoid heat illness

According to Health Canada, heat illness can affect you very quickly and is caused by spending too much time or over exerting yourself in the heat. Heat illness includes heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat rash, and heat cramps. Symptoms of heat related illnesses include fainting, dizziness, vomiting, head ache, and extreme thirst.  If you think you are suffering from heat illness, move to a cooler area and drink plenty of water.

9: Take care of your pets

Pets are great companions any time of year, but just like you, they need extra care to keep them safe and happy this summer. Below, The Weather Network reporter Leanna McLean has the following tips for you to keep your furry friends cool.

1) Watch out for and prevent heat stroke: If you notice that your dog seems sluggish, is panting excessively, she might be overheating. Make sure your pets have plenty of cool water to drink and/or lay in.
2) Keep off of hot surfaces: Dark surfaces like asphalt absorb a lot of heat, which can be painful on paws and raise an animal’s body temperature. On long walks, give your pooch more chances to walk on cooler surfaces, like grass.
3) Prevent Lyme disease and ticks: While they don’t all carry Lyme disease, each tick’s intention is to feed off a mammal's blood. Talk to your vet about medicines that will repel the bugs, avoid areas that tick’s frequent (i.e. tall grass), and check your pet’s fur regularly.
4) Prevent mosquito and bug bights: Spray citronella oil on a bandanna or t-shirt and tie it to your dog to ward of mosquitoes. Spraying your dog directly can overwhelm their advanced sense of smell.
5) Practice safe swimming etiquette: Keep an eye on your dog at all times while he/she is swimming, and consider having them wear a bright bandanna or collar.

WATCH: Man smashes car window in Grand Bend to free trapped dog

10: Care for your lawn | LAWN & GARDEN REPORT

As the temperature rises, your lawn is going to be getting much more traffic, and could become vulnerable to drying out after a prolonged lack of rainfall. Follow these steps from Today’s Homeowner for the greenest lawn on the block:

• Give your lawn at least an inch of water once a week. Watering your lawn earlier in the day will help reduce fungal growth.• Raise your mower blade in the summer, and let your grass grow longer. This creates deeper roots, and shade, which prevents weed growth.
• Stop fertilizing your lawn 30 days before the summer heat is forecast. Don’t over fertilize, this can cause your lawn to burn. If your lawn has already died, wait until it grows back before fertilizing.
• Try to remove weeds before they spread and bare more seeds. This might mean investing in a recommended herbicide for use in temperatures that are under 29oC.

11: Bike safely 

Biking is a fun and environmentally friendly way to get around this summer. Bike safety is easy to manage, and can make an important difference in preventing injury. Always wear a helmet, and make sure your bike is adjusted to your height. If you bike on the road, always signal your movements and don’t weave in and out of traffic. Wear bright and reflective clothing, and consider putting lights on your bike and/or helmet. 

12: Swimming and boating safety

According to the Canadian Red Cross, an average of 400 people drown in Canada each year, and hundreds more die while boating. Ninety per cent of people who drown while boating weren’t wearing their life jacket, an alcohol was involved in 41 per cent of power boating accidents.  No matter where you swim this year, stay sober, don’t swim alone, and always check the weather updates so you are not in the water in unsettled weather.  An addition, if you go out in a boat or watercraft, always pack a first aid kit and plenty of food and water.

13: Act responsibly

May 16 to May 22 is National Safe Driving Week in Canada. The timing of the campaign is appropriate, as one of the main focus areas is impaired driving, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. According to MADD Canada, drunk drivers (aged 16-25) are most likely to be killed or injured in the summer time, specifically on weekends. In 2015, police reported 72,039 impaired driving incidents. Call a cab, an Uber, or a friend – never drive impaired.  

14: Prepare for extreme weather | EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS

Summer in Canada means a unique list of severe weather conditions such as lighting, strong winds, hail, tornadoes, heavy rain, and flash flooding. Monitor your local weather authority so you can be prepared when dangerous weather strikes, and so that you can prepare yourself and your property. Depending on what area you live in, you may want to have an emergency kit prepared. This kit should include food and water, first aid materials, medication, and charged batteries. Discuss an evacuation or emergency plan with your loved ones.

15: Camp smart | CAMP REPORT

In celebration of our country’s 150th birthday this July, Parks Canada has issued passes for free passes for free admission to Canada’s national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas. If you choose to enjoy any of Canada’s national or provincial parks this summer, keep in mind that many Canadians probably have the same idea. Campsite reservations can be made online, and it is a good idea to book well in advance. Also, check out our camping hacks here.

16: Firework safety

Practice extreme caution when lighting fireworks of any kind this year. Pay attention to city-bylaws, and be aware that lighting fireworks in windy conditions can spread out burning materials and cause a hazard. Also, keep in mind that you should not light fireworks in areas that are too dry, as this could spark wildfires. The National Council on Fireworks Safety recommends that you never throw or point fireworks at another person, never lights fireworks outdoors, and to always have water handy.

Will files from Hailey Montgomery and Leanna McLean.

Sources: Canada Safety Council | Be Care Aware | Centers For Disease Control and Prevention | Health Canada | MADD | Canada Safety Council | Today's Homeowner | Network Health | The Canadian Encyclopedia

Watch: Fireworks factory explodes (caught on camera)

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