As seniors age, their bodies become less able to retain water, which often accompanies a reduced feeling of thirst. It is important to increase water intake while spending time in the summer sun. This is especially crucial for those who are diabetic because high blood sugar can lead to dehydration. Water is the best choice to stay hydrated, as sugary sodas and juices can result in further dehydration. According to Mayo Clinic, alcohol should also be avoided due to its effects on the body's ability to regulate temperature.
Pick Proper Clothing
Wear loose, lightweight clothing to allow heat to leave the body and for sweat to be able to evaporate. Pick light-colored cotton clothing because this type of fabric is known to remain cool and comfortable. Long sleeve shirts can also be worn for extra protection from the sun.
Along with choosing the proper clothing, be sure to accessorize. Sunglasses, visors, and hats can all provide protection from the hot summer sun. Wide brimmed hats offer additional coverage from sun rays. Accessories including gloves, goggles, and proper shoes can also be worn during outdoor activities, such as gardening and other yard work.
Sunscreen, with an SPF of 15 or higher, should be an essential for all ages to reduce the risk of sun burn. Before going outdoors, and prior to any sun exposure, apply sunblock. This can be done up to a half hour before exposure. Sunscreens should also be reapplied throughout the day to ensure coverage. It can only take a few minutes for skin to be damaged by the sun. If sun burn does occur, a cool shower and burn cream can help to sooth the areas.
The summer heat is most powerful during the middle of the day, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. It is helpful to plan outdoor activities during the hours around this time period. Those who exercise and partake in outdoor activities should do so in the early morning or later in the afternoon, because less heat is present during these two times of the day. Also, spend shorter periods of time in the sun. It is important to take breaks during any outdoor adventure by going somewhere indoors with air conditioning, to refresh and re-hydrate.
Recognize Signs of Heat Stroke
Heat stroke occurs more often in seniors than any other age range. It is essential to know the signs and symptoms of heat stroke so it can be treated properly and on-time. According to the National Institutes on Aging, symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Having a temperature over 103º F
- Flush skin and lack of sweat in hot heat
- Attitude change like confusion and anger
- Possible fainting
Heat stroke is a medical emergency and should be treated immediately.
Prevent Pesky Bugs
As stated by the CDC, insect repellent that contains DEET (diethyltoluadmide) can be worn to reduce those annoying bug bites; although, bug spray is not the only option to keep the bugs away. Consider wearing long sleeves and tucking socks into pants. Make sure to shower and check yourself for ticks after any outdoor activities.
Senior care facilities can help to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their residents all year long. If you’re looking for senior care in Western Pennsylvania or Eastern Ohio, look no further than the senior health care services from Concordia Lutheran Ministries. Visit a Concordia location near you and discover how we can help improve your quality of living.