The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns us that older adults are more at risk from illness and injury due to the heat for three key reasons:
- Older adults do not adjust well to sudden changes in temperature.
- Older adults are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat.
- Older adults are more likely to be taking prescription medications that impair the body’s ability to regulate temperature or inhibits perspiration.
The CDC encourages us to visit at risk older adults at least twice a day and watch for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Other tips for coping with the summer heat and sun include the following:
- Drink plenty of water, regardless of activity, even if you are not thirsty. (Be sure to check with your/their doctor if your/their doctor has limited the amount of fluid you/they drink or if you/they are taking water pills.)
- Avoid heavy meals and alcohol.
- Keep the sunscreen handy and use it. As you age, your skin becomes more sensitive to the sun. Choose a sunscreen that offers a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. It should also be a broadband UV spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB light. Be sure to apply generously.
- Shield your skin and eyes from the harmful rays be wearing protective clothing such as light weight and light color fabrics, hats and sun glasses.
- Take cool baths or showers. Sponge baths, ice bags and wet towels also can be helpful.
- Visit air-conditioned restaurants and malls.
Air conditioning can do more than help you stay cool; it can be a lifesaver.
Portion of article By Jo Ellen Bleavins of BMA Management, Ltd.