Summer is here – and while it’s a wonderful time to barbeque, sail in the sound, or go to the beach – summertime may not be the same for an elderly family member. With excessive heat and other seasonal issues, it’s crucial to take the necessary precautions as the heat wave continues.
Most heat-related illnesses are due to long periods out in the direct sunlight, which could lead to mild to harsh sunburns, heat stroke, and overheating exhaustion from the ultraviolet and infrared rays.
The human body is constantly working towards a regular temperature of approximately 98.6 degrees. Too much heat and humidity can push your body to exert more energy than normal – which is often the underlining cause of heat/humidity related illnesses. Essentially the heat forces your body to work beyond its limits. For senior citizens – precautions should be taken to avoid overheating. Some preventative ways to stay safe from the heat exposure and sun this summer are:
- Drink plenty of water in order to keep your body hydrated, and from overheating or heat stroke during the humid, high temperatures.
- Protect your skin by wearing sunscreen if you are outside for a long duration of time – especially when gardening, taking a walk, or even relaxing by the pool. Wear a hat to limit the exposure of sunlight to your face and neck, as these two areas are highly sensitive to prolonged effects from the ultraviolet and infrared rays of the sun.
- Limit exercise and strenuous activity on high heat days. By adding more stress on the body, your body works harder to keep cool and stay at an average body temperature. Overall, any prolonged activities out in the sun could turn life-threatening to a senior citizen. At outdoor social gathering and one doesn’t take proper coverage from the sun to beach days without an umbrella and sunblock. These are the do not and matters could turn detrimental so be careful this summer!
- Be sure to take breaks in order for your body to cool down. Resting is beneficial! On the hottest days of summer, be sure to stay hydrated, put on some sunblock, then hydrate some more! If you’re exposed to the elements of infrared rays and ultraviolet rays, take time to go inside your home to relax and drink some water.
- Checking in with family, friends, and neighbors regularly during heat waves are a great way to ensure an elderly family member’s safety from the solar elements. During these hot spells – heat strokes, heat fatigue/lethargic characteristics can happen abruptly, so it’s important to be a cohesive community to help one another. Check up on our neighbors – especially the elderly or disabled – to ensure they are safe and let’s all enjoy this wonderful summer safely!