Senior Health in the Heat
Summertime brings with it a medley of wonderful feelings. From backyard barbeque planning to leisurely days at the beach, little can compare to a glorious summer day.
Still, seniors must be particularly mindful in protecting themselves in this much-anticipated season, chiefly on hot or sticky days. Why? Because older individuals can especially fall victim to the less-pleasant effects of the heat. Therefore, the suggestions below are thoughts to consider in enhancing summer enjoyment.
- Protection from the Sun. Protection from the sun is important for everyone, but seniors require special care. As some people age, blood circulation slows and sweat glands become less efficient. As a result, the sun is not tolerated as well. Subsequently, try to stay out of the excessive heat as much as possible. If you are outdoors and become too warm, immediately find a cool place to go. Another sun alert? Sun exposure can cause dangerous skin cell changes, so be sure to use sunscreen (30 SPF or above).
- Medication Considerations. The risk of hyperthermia may increase with certain types of medication. Drugs for the heart, emotional well-being, blood pressure (e.g., diuretics) sleep patterns, etc., can exacerbate perspiration difficulties and inhibit the body’s ability to naturally deal with higher temperatures. Because of this, it is important to talk with your doctor about your medication and the heat.
- Hydrate. Some seniors periodically become dehydrated because they do not drink enough fluids (like water, vegetable juice, and 100% fruit juice). Alcoholic and caffeinated beverages tend to deplete liquids, so these drinks can be counterproductive to staying hydrated. Naturally, water intake is extremely important in any season, but it is particularly vital in the warmer weather. How much is enough? Ask your physician. Typically, 4 to 8 glasses is the recommended amount, but more may be needed.
- Dress According. Proper clothing can be significant in maintaining the right body temperature. Lightweight, cotton, lighter-colored, and loose-fitting attire help our bodies breathe better and more easily adapt to higher temperatures. Nonetheless, always bring along a sweater or jacket in the evident you enter an air conditioned room.
Many people take pleasure in the warmer months and eagerly await their arrival. However, precautionary measures are sometimes necessary to optimize health. The above suggestions are but a few of the many ways to ward off problems and heighten your summer happiness. So, now that summer is officially here, be aware but enjoy!