Keep your cool
While summer is typically a carefree season of family picnics, barefoot walks in the grass, and nights under the stars, when warm weather turns into extreme heat it can become dangerous. For seniors it can quickly turn into a very critical situation since they may be more prone to being adversely affected by prolonged exposure to very high summer temperatures.1 Babies, children and people with chronic medical conditions are also more prone to heat stress.2
What can you do to protect yourself or a loved one when the mercury starts to rise? Keep your cool by following these simple steps as recommended by SeniorArk.com:
- Drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated.
- Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes in light colors (light colors reflect the sun and heat while dark colors absorb it).
- Go to a place with air conditioning if your home doesn’t have it. Go to the movies, a mall, a cooling center, community center or ask to stay with a friend or family member who has air conditioning until the heat wave breaks.
- If you don’t drive or don’t own a car, take taxis instead of standing at a bus stop in the heat, and make sure to wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen while you’re out.
- If you have no other options and must stay in your home, take a cool shower or bath to lower your body temperature.
- Become familiar with the signs and symptoms of heat stroke: flushed face, high body temperature, nausea, headache, rapid pulse, dizziness and confusion.1 Make sure to seek help if you begin to feel ill in the heat.
- Have an emergency contact who you can call if you need help, and check in regularly with your family to let them know you’re okay.
If you have elderly loved ones, make sure to check on them regularly during the summer, especially during periods of extreme heat. If you live far away, have someone you trust check in on them for you. Even if a senior claims to be coping just fine, consider taking them to a cool, air conditioned place for a brief respite from the heat—or even invite them to stay with you until the heat breaks. They may not feel comfortable asking but would welcome an invitation to a cool home for a good night’s sleep.
Print out this article and keep it close by for future reference, and visit SeniorArk.com , Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, or Health Canada for more advice on how to stay safe during the hot summer months. For more information about protecting children during periods of extreme heat, visit Health Canada.
409680 CAN/US (04/15)