Summer is here, which means so is the humidity, heat and high UV index. As the weather gets more intense, so do the risks of heat-related health issues for seniors citizens. For issues like dehydration, heat exhaustion or even heat stroke, seniors are especially susceptible in the summer months, which is why it’s important we share some of the best senior summer safety tips.
While it’s exciting to finally enjoy the warm weather, it’s important to still be cautious of the threat of COVID-19 and respect social distancing guidelines. While going on walks and spending time outdoors can have a great impact on our health, remember to wear a mask, maintain a 6-foot distance from others and avoid large gatherings of people. Before jumping into your outdoor activities, take some time to learn about these senior summer safety tips and social distancing reminders.
Heat-Related Health Issues
As thirst diminishes with age, it’s easy for seniors to become dehydrated without being aware, which can cause severe bouts of dizziness and leave them feeling lightheaded. While many seniors may not feel the need to drink as much water as their body needs, dehydration is a major health concern among older generations as it can lead to many serious conditions like severe muscle contractions and decreased kidney functions.
Another major summer concern for the elderly is heat exhaustion, which is caused by your body overheating after being in the heat or sun for too long. While heat exhaustion is typically non-life-threatening, some symptoms include rapid pulse, heavy sweating, and dizziness. Much like dehydration, an easy way to help reduce the risk of heat exhaustion is drinking an adequate amount of water daily.
Lastly, the most severe heat-related health issue is heatstroke. Heat strokes are caused by prolonged exposure or physical exertion in higher summer temperatures. According to the Mayo Clinic, heat strokes require emergency treatment and can be life-threatening, often being brought on by dehydration or increased body temperature.
Summer Safety Tips for Seniors
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Drink a good amount of water throughout the day. Decreased sense of thirst is very common among the elderly so it’s important to drink plenty of water even if you don’t necessarily feel thirsty. Carry around an insulated water bottle to keep your water cool throughout the day, and remember to drink more as you spend more time outside in the sun. Studies show that simply having a straw attached to your water bottle can help you drink more liquids in the day, so consider getting a water bottle with a built-in straw!
Wear Light Clothing
To reduce your sweating or heat while outdoors, try to wear breathable and lightweight clothing. This can include linen and cotton materials that are made to fit loosely on your body. Especially if you plan to be outdoors, keep your clothes light and try to avoid thick materials like denim when possible.
Even on rainy or cloudy days, UV rays are strong enough to cause severe sunburns if left unprotected. Ensure your skin is well protected throughout the day with a high, waterproof SPF of 30 or more! As you spend more time outside, remember to reapply as needed!
Be Aware of the Forecast
As you make plans for the day, remember to be cautious of high temperatures! Before heading out to enjoy a walk or spend time in your garden, make sure that the temperature is safe and cool enough for you to be in the sun for a prolonged period of time. Especially during peak UV exposure times between 10 AM and 4 PM, it’s important to be cautious of your outdoor activities.
Maintain Social Distancing
While being aware of the high summer temperatures is extremely important for seniors, so is the need to continue following social distancing guidelines. Many places still have shelter at home policies in place, along with restrictions on leaving your home for those who fall within at-risk categories.
Here at NorthCrest, we understand the risks of high heat exposure for seniors, which is why we are sharing these senior summer safety tips. Interested in learning more about how to protect yourself this summer? Click here to schedule a virtual visit with one of our professional healthcare providers!