Summer may be drawing to a close, but sky-high temperatures are sticking around across the country. Although summer is a great time to enjoy the great outdoors, heat and humidity present a set of unique health risks – especially for seniors. Review these summer health tips for seniors to stay safe as you enjoy some late summer fun.
Summer Health Tips for Seniors
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Make sure to bring plenty of water when you’re out enjoying these last days of summer. You’ve likely heard the standard recommendation to drink around eight cups, or 64 ounces, of water a day. But the truth is that you may need much more than that, especially if you plan to spend a lot of time in the hot summer sun. Staying hydrated doesn’t have to be a chore; just bring a large water bottle or canteen with you, and challenge yourself to finish all of the water before you get home. Keep in mind that many seniors become less aware of their thirst as they get older, especially those who may have declining kidney function. For that reason, you should make sure to take consistent sips of water – even if you don’t feel particularly thirsty.
Stepping out into a hot day can be exhausting – but what if your home doesn’t offer much relief during the summer months? To fend off heat-related illness during hot days, make sure to run your air conditioner consistently. If you don’t have an air conditioner, consider spending the peak of the day at a friend or relative’s air-conditioned home. If you’d like to install air conditioning but are worried about energy bills, check in with your local Department on Aging. Staff members may be able to advise you on affordable air conditioning options specifically designed for seniors. Finally, you should work to make your home as cool as possible by covering windows during the day and placing fans throughout your home.
Protect Your Skin
When possible, try to plan outdoor activities either early in the day or later in the evening when the sun’s heat is less intense. Of course, that might not always be possible. If you need to go out during the sun’s peak hours, be sure to protect yourself with a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. Cover every inch of exposed skin in sunscreen, and reapply it frequently if you find yourself sweating or swimming. You should also wear a large hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun. Finally, make sure that your summer wardrobe involves light-colored, loose-fitting clothing in natural fibers like cotton. Breathable clothing can work wonders on a hot day.
Know the Signs of Heat-Related Illness
So, you’ve followed these summer health tips for seniors, but you still find yourself under the weather on a particularly hot day. If you feel dehydrated, dizzy, confused, or fatigued, you may be suffering from heat-related illness. While heat exhaustion can be treated relatively quickly, serious conditions like heatstroke can be deadly. Review the symptoms of heat-related illness, and don’t hesitate to speak up if you feel even a little ill.
Late summer is a great time to make memories – but it does come with health risks, especially during 90-degree days. Fortunately, these summer health tips for seniors will keep you cool and healthy.
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