As the warmest days of summer are upon us, it is important to be aware of hot weather safety for seniors. In Minnesota, we tend to put more focus toward keeping the elderly safe in the bitter cold winter months than ensuring their safety on the hottest summer days. A recent article on FoxDetroit.com discusses hot weather safety essentials and how to keep seniors safe in hot weather. Here are four actionable steps to ensure you and the seniors in your care stay safe in hot weather.
Drink enough fluids
This is obvious but often overlooked advice. Dehydration is at the root of many heat-related illnesses. In the summer, the body needs more fluid for temperature regulation. Don’t simply wait until you are thirsty. Our thirst sensors are not always fast enough to trigger a message that lets us know when we need more water. Instead, make it a habit to have water conveniently by your side for easy, mindless sipping.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine
Minnesotans have only a few months of warm weather. It is very tempting on a hot day to reach for a refreshingly cold cocktail as a way to unwind and enjoy these days. The heat may also cause our energy levels to decrease, causing us to desire a cold Coke or Pepsi, or an afternoon cup of coffee. As difficult as it may be, it is best to resist these temptations. They may result in an increased risk for heat-induced illnesses. Caffeine actually acts as a diuretic, causing the body to lose water rather than retain it.
Stay out of the sun
Staying inside in air-conditioned buildings is the best way to stay cool. If you venture outside, try to stay out of direct sunlight, opting for well-shaded areas. Wear light-colored clothing, which will reflect the heat, rather than absorb it as dark colors tend to do.
Know the symptoms of heat-related illness
Knowing symptoms of heat-related illnesses is important. This can be the first step in preventing such illnesses from becoming serious. According to the Center for Disease Control, some symptoms to watch for include:
- heavy sweating
- cold, pale, clammy skin
- nausea or vomiting
- unconsciousness or fainting
- hot red, dry or moist skin
- rapid and strong pulse
If you are unsure of whether or not symptoms are related to an illness or condition, always contact a physician. WebMD has more information about extreme heat and its effect on health, as well as an online symptom checker tool that can be used to help identify the illness or condition.
Stay safe this summer, and ensure those around you are safe as well. Our caregivers and R.N.s know how to stay safe in hot weather, and have experience keeping seniors safe in the heat. You can have the confidence that your family member or loved one is in good hands at Baywood Home Care, no matter the season.