Summer can be a dangerous time for seniors. An analysis of a record heat wave in the Midwest and eastern part of the United States during the summer of 2012 showed that half of those who died were 65 or older.
To keep cool and healthy during hot weather, our pharmacist recommends these eight summer health tips:
- Drink lots of water. However, check first to make sure your fluids aren't restricted because of conditions or diseases you may have or medications you take.
- Stay away from caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. While fluids can help replenish you, certain ones - such as iced coffee or alcoholic drinks - are diuretics. These can cause you to lose more fluids than you take in.
- Limit use of your stove and oven. They make you and your house hotter.
- Look at your urine. If you're getting dehydrated, it will look darker or tea-coloured.
- Stay indoors and limit activities. Between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. is the hottest part of the day. When it's the hottest time of day, you should avoid exercising and also consider putting off working around the house, gardening and other strenuous activities.
- Stay in air-conditioned areas. This keeps you cooler and lowers the humidity so you can sweat more efficiently.
- Dress for the weather. When it's hot out, wear light-coloured, lightweight, loose- fitting clothes and a wide-brimmed hat. These, along with high SPF sunscreens, also help protect again sunburn.
- Take cold baths or showers. If you don’t have air conditioning, this can be effective to cool you off.