Although winter often gets a bad rap for posing health risks for seniors as we see spikes in flu season, pneumonia, colds, and other illnesses, the summer months can create a whole slew of issues for aging citizens as well. Hot weather is dangerous to anyone in general, but seniors have an increased risk of its threat. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are extremely common in older adults. A study from the University of Chicago Medical Center reports that 40% of heat-related fatalities in the US were attributed to those over the age of 65.
So, how can you stay cool and safe this summer in the great Sacramento, CA area? Follow these tips and best practices.
1. Drink Plenty of liquids
The root of many health problems is dehydration. People simply do not drink enough water, especially seniors. Ensure that you are getting at least 64 ounces throughout the day and maybe more if you are going to be exerting an increased amount of energy or take medication that can actually cause dehydration. Additionally, avoid drinking caffeinated beverages and alcoholic drinks as those can contribute to dehydration.
2. Avoid Outdoors During Peak Hours
It may seem like a good idea to get outside and get some sunshine, but ensure you are doing so at the proper times. An early morning or late evening sunset walk is fine, but try to avoid spending time outdoors during midday. The middle day hours are when the sun is strongest and temperatures will be at their peak highs.
3. Stay Aware of the Heat Index
High humidity means a lot of moisture in the air, when there are high levels of humidity the body’s ability to cool itself through sweating is reduced. Heat index factors humidity and temperature to determine a measurement of how the weather will actually feel. Popular weather sources such as your local news or weather applications and websites will broadcast the heat index. If it is too high, avoid spending time outdoors as much as possible.
4. Know Warning Signs
There are a few telltale signs of heat-related illness that you for which you should be aware. Symptoms for heat-related illness include dizziness, nausea, headache, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, fainting, and breathing problems. If you experience any of these sings, request help immediately.
Senior citizens are more vulnerable to heat-related illnesses and it’s important to stay aware and vigilant. With many older adults experiencing other health problems on top of this, it’s important to have a caregiver and support system. If you need to find a caregiver for yourself or a loved one, contact our team. The Harmony Home Care professionals are more than happy to serve those in need of caregiving assistance in Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, and Yolo counties. For daily tips, advice, and news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus.