Summer Heat: Risks for Seniors

According to a University of Chicago Medical Center study, 40% of heat-related deaths are among individuals over the age of 65. Summer is quickly approaching, and it is imperative that you prioritize your health as the weather gets hotter. Here, the home care providers at Avila Home Care explain key tips to avoid heat risks and how seniors can stay proactive about their health.

 Wear Light Clothing

This goes without saying, but make sure you are wearing proper summer attire when you leave your home to make sure you aren’t at risk of overheating. Choose short-sleeve shirts, shorts, dresses and skirts instead of long-sleeve shirts and long pants, and always choose light-colored attire, as it will reflect heat better than dark-colored attire. Natural fabrics, like cotton or linen, are typically cooler and more comfortable to wear in hot weather compared to synthetic fabrics like polyester. In addition, wearing a hat outdoors will keep the sun away from your face.

 Hydrate

Make sure you are staying hydrated as the weather gets warmer, especially if you spend a lot of time outside. Carrying a water bottle with you wherever you go is a sure way to stay proactive about hydration, and thermoses can keep your fluids cold all day long. It is recommended by many health professionals to sip water even if you are not thirsty in order to stop dehydration before it begins.

Avoid Crowds

The more populated an area, the hotter it is going to be. The added element of collected body heat in a crowded area can make an already hot day feel suffocating. To combat the risk of getting stuck in a crowd on a hot summer afternoon, avoid locations that you know will be congested. Concerts, festivals and outdoor events may prove to be a risk to those who are vulnerable to overheating. In addition, errands like shopping or picking up groceries should be completed during a time of day where crowds are least likely, such as during weekdays as opposed to weekends.

Have Access to Air Conditioning

Summer days in Maryland can reach as high as 90 degrees or more, and additional factors like a high heat index and humidity can make being outdoors uncomfortable and even dangerous. Ensure that you always have access to an air-conditioned building, wherever you go, and keep the interior of your home cool as well. Staying indoors between the hours of 12:00 and 2:00 pm is a proactive way to put your health first.

 Stay Proactive about Signs

Seniors are more at risk for overheating compared to younger individuals. The human body’s ability to regulate temperature decreases with age, and many medications, like the arthritis drug Naproxen and diabetes drug Chlorpropamide, are linked to increased sun and heat sensitivity in seniors. If you find yourself in a hot, crowded area on a summer afternoon, be on the lookout for signs of overheating including confusion, agitation, flushed skin, a rapid pulse, dizziness, chest pain and trouble breathing. If you start to feel any of these symptoms, notify someone immediately, seek an air-conditioned building and contact a healthcare professional. To learn more about which medications may subject you to increased sun and heat sensitivity, view this chart.

Beat the Heat with the Home Care Providers at Avila Home Care

At Avila Home Care, making sure you are safe and healthy is our first priority. Our dedicated home care providers strive to keep each and every one of their patients safe from the summer heat and can help you stay hydrated, choose summer-appropriate clothing and accompany you during errands or excursions. To learn more about how the dedicated aging in place specialists at Avila Home Care can help you stay safe, healthy and comfortable during the summer months, contact Avila Home Care today.

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