Beat the Heat: A Guide for Seniors

Summer is here and we all want to be outside, all of the time! But, it’s important to take note of the risks that come with the rising summer temperatures. Heat syncope, heat cramps, heat edema, and heat exhaustion are all major medical issues that seniors suffer with much more often than those that are younger, but the real danger is heat stroke. Heat stroke can lead to major complications if not treated quickly and can even, in some situations, lead to death. The best solution is to prevent it altogether, so here at Prestige Home Care Agency, we thought we’d give you some top tips so you can get on and enjoy the great weather!

How to stop the stroke!

Allow the air to circulate

Circulating fresh air helps keep us cool, especially if we’re stuck inside on a sweltering hot day! If it’s a dry heat outside, try opening some windows and allowing a breeze through the house, but if it’s humid weather outside, it’s actually often better to keep the windows closed and have a fan or even better, an aircon unit going to keep cool while indoors.

Drink plenty of fluids!

This is the most important one! Lots of the time, people get heat stroke because their body hasn’t got enough liquid, and then the brain malfunctions as one of the first things to go during major dehydration is your body’s ability to control its temperature. Drink more than you think you need! Seniors tend to drink less when they’re out and about because of worries related to needing the bathroom more often, but when it’s up against heat stroke, frequent urination is definitely the lesser of two evils!

Avoid high-intensity activities

It’s unlikely that you’re a marathon runner in your senior years – although it’s not unheard of! But, even activities that in cooler weather seem easy such as brisk walking or cycling can be quite strenuous and increase your body temperature over its natural limit. Be safe and take it easy when the temperatures are particularly high!
Avoid alcohol and caffeine
There’s nothing quite like a cold beer on a hot day, but it may actually be doing you more damage than good! Alcohol and caffeine both affect the efficiency with which your kidneys can process your blood and therefore recirculate fluids back around your body. As a result, this can increase the likelihood of heat-related illnesses.

Coverup – but keep it light

When the sun is out in all its glory, it can get REALLY hot. It’s important to keep your arms, legs, and torso well covered to avoid burning and from getting overheated. Your clothing should be light enough that it stops the direct sunlight but allows the sweat to evaporate away. However, the most important part of your body to keep covered is your head! Your brain is mostly made of water, and as it’s locked inside your skull, the heat can get it cooking like a pressure cooker! Keeping your head cool and out of direct sunlight by wearing a loose-fitted hat is really effective and taking regular breaks in the shade to cool down is also an important way to keep your brain from becoming too warm.

We all love the sunshine, and it certainly should be something that everyone enjoys! But, like all great things, it comes with a few warning stickers that must be noted. Getting too hot can have serious consequences, so make sure you stick to these simple yet critical rules to keep safe when the sun is shining!