SANDRA GUY

These picture-perfect days — OK, so the humidity can be a little hard to bear, but just think about winter — are a great excuse to take a long walk to the lake, play tennis at a nearby public court, or brave a kayak trip on the Chicago River.

Just remember your family caregiver’s advice: Stay safe – from the sun, dehydration and taking risks alone.

Here are some tips from the National Kidney Foundation on how to enjoy these all-too-short summer days:

  • Bring a water bottle, but remember that dehydration starts before you step outside. Did you drink coffee, tea or alcohol? These diuretics can accelerate dehydration when you are active outdoors.
  • Check all medications to make sure none increase dehydration.
  • Wear sunglasses and a hat, preferably with a wide brim, and apply a sunscreen with at least 40 sun protection factor (SPF) that includes active ingredients such as octinoxate, avobenzone, and octisalate. Never spray sunscreen on your face. And try to stay out of the sun during the hottest hours of the day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m
  • Wear light colors and synthetic fabrics that wick away sweat.
  • Be careful about food safety. When setting up food for the grill, consider lining up the most vulnerable items—like meat and dairy—in the kitchen and bringing them to the grill instead of leaving them outside.

Once you’ve completed your checklist, relax and enjoy the warm sun, fresh air and freedom of the great outdoors. Bring family, friends and others so you can share in the bliss.