Summer is in full swing and while there is much to enjoy about the season, it is important to look out for those around us who are more vulnerable to warmer weather. We can all be affected by heat and humidity, but seniors have particular risks that need to be understood and monitored.
Tips for Summer Safety:
- Drink plenty of fluids. It is important to drink enough water, and a good rule of thumb is to consume half of your body weight in ounces of water per day. Needs increase in high temperatures and with physical exertion.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Both caffeinated beverages and alcoholic beverages can quickly dehydrate us. It is a good idea to reduce or eliminate these beverages in the hot weather.
- Dress appropriately. Natural fabrics such as cotton are breathable and keep body temperature cooler, as do light colors and loose-fitting attire. A wide-brimmed hat can keep the sun off your face and neck, and sunglasses are important for protecting eyes.
- Stay indoors and find air conditioning. In extreme heat and humidity, stay indoors. If you do not have air conditioning, go somewhere that does such as a movie theater, shopping mall, or a community center or library.
- Be an early bird or a night owl. If you’d like to enjoy time outdoors, do so in the morning or evening. The sun is most intense between 10 am and 4 pm.
- Review medications. Many seniors use medications each day and some of these can cause side effects including increased sensitivity to ultraviolet rays from the sun. Review medications and talk to a doctor or pharmacist if you have questions.
- Be aware of the signs of heat stroke. Heat stroke is extremely dangerous. Watch for signs including confusion, disorientation, dry skin, excessive fatigue, headache, lethargy, nausea and rapid pulse. If you or someone you are with is experiencing these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
- Cool down with water. Avoid hot showers and baths during extreme heat. Take cool showers or simply use a cool washcloth on your wrists, ankles and neck to bring some relief.
We all want to enjoy the nice weather while we have it, and it’s possible to do so while also playing it safe. Look out for those around you and check in on your favorite seniors regularly.