Who doesn’t enjoy warmer weather? You can get outside and play with the grandkids, or tend to your garden and watch your flowers bloom. Whatever your pleasure, there’s no doubt that warm days mean more time outdoors.
But as the temperatures begin to rise and the days get longer, you still have to be mindful of your health – especially seniors. Besides insect bites and allergies, there’s another threat the summertime brings that can pose a risk. The culprit is the heat.
If you’re over the age of 65, you are at higher risk of developing heatstroke. Heatstroke, or heat stress, is a serious illnesses related to the increase in heat. Our bodies usually can control our temperature, but they simply can’t in the case of heatstroke. In turn, we’re unable to sweat, which cools us down. Our skin may feel hot and dry to the touch. Other warning signs include high body temperature, rapid breathing, nausea and vomiting, and possible confusion or agitated behavior.
If it’s not treated right away, heat stroke can lead to permanent disability or even death.
Heat exhaustion, on the other hand, may not happen right away, but occurs after numerous days of being exposed to the heat. Without proper hydration, someone experiencing heat exhaustion may have dizziness, weakness, headache, fainting and changes in pulse.
Seniors, unfortunately, are more prone to heat-related illnesses because their bodies do not adjust to heat as well as those who are younger. Furthermore, underlying medical conditions and medications may make it more difficult for their bodies to respond to heat, once again increasing their risk.
Just because you are a senior doesn’t mean you have to fall victim to heat stress. In fact, there are many steps you can take that can prevent heat-related illnesses and ensure you enjoy all that summer has to offer.
Some tips I’ve summed up from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) include:
Summertime is meant to be a great time for fun and relaxation, so following these tips will help ensure you stay healthy and safe as well. If you notice someone with possible heat stress, bring them to a shady area and try to cool them down – either with water or a wet cloth. Call emergency personnel as they can offer further assistance.
By practicing safe summertime habits you, too, can get outdoors to make the most all that summer has to offer. Enjoy that sunshine!
Ever wanted to ditch those bad health habits – smoking, eating poorly, not exercising, etc. – but just find it too hard? Change isn’t easy. Going it alone can be difficult, so the support you have to make those changes can be a large factor in your success.
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