Learning Ways to Manage Your Health
How to Cool Down When the Weather Heats Up
The weather is finally starting to heat up! Summer means more events and activities outside with family and friends, but with warmer weather also comes heat-related health risks. Each year, around 350 deaths occur in the U.S. due to high heat or heat stroke, with about 50% of those deaths being persons over the age of 65.

Senior citizens are at increased risk of suffering from heat-related health concerns due to many factors. According to, “As we age, we gradually lose the ability to perspire and regulate our body temperature. This is why older people tend to overdress — they don't feel heat the same way anymore. Heart rates do not speed up or return to normal as fast during exercise. Older skin also thins and offers less protection from the sun. Poor circulation, heart, lung and kidney diseases, as well as high blood pressure increase the risk for heat-related illness. Being overweight or underweight also increases risk.”

Fortunately, there are a number of precautions to exercise, ensuring you and your loved ones stay cool and healthy this summer. Following is a thorough list of tips for keeping your health in check once the temperatures start to rise.
  • Inside temperatures should not exceed 85°F for long periods of time.
  • If no central air, invest in a window A/C unit, especially for your most-used rooms.
  • Take cool showers, baths or sponge baths.
  • Keep shades closed during the day and open windows at night.
  • Put an ice cube on pressure points on wrist or neck to help cool the body.
  • Eat light meals of cool foods like sandwiches, salads, fresh fruit and veggies. Frozen treats, such as popsicles and ice cream are encouraged!
  • If your home doesn’t have air conditioning, spend time during the hottest part of the day (1-4 pm) at a library, restaurant, movie theater or other public place that will be at a comfortable temperature.
  • Drink plenty of water and fruit juice to stay well-hydrated. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as these can aid in dehydration.
  • Wear loose-fitting and light-colored clothing made of breathable fabrics like cotton.
  • Protect yourself against harmful rays with sunscreen, sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats and an umbrella; sit in shaded areas as much as possible.
  • Plan outdoor activities for the cooler mornings or in the shade.
  • Eliminate or put a limit on physical activities.
  • A hand-held fan is a great item to keep in a purse or pocket to help you cool off outside.
  • Don’t wait in the car, as temperatures can rise quickly in the enclosed space.
  • Utilize the car’s air conditioning unit; get it serviced before the summer to ensure optimal use.
  • Drive as close to the door of your destination as you can to be dropped off or to drop off an elderly person.
  • Try to park in the shade as often as possible to decrease the amount of sun heating the car.
  • Check with the person’s doctor to find out if their medications can increase the risk of heat stress, including OTC medication.

  • Signs of heat exhaustion and dehydration can be less noticeable in seniors due to aging, medications and chronic conditions. Also talk to their doctor regarding how these circumstances may affect how their body handles heat.

  • Check in daily if the person lives alone or have a neighbor check in multiple times a day.

  • If the person under your care lacks transportation, make sure they have a way to get to the store, appointments, etc., instead of walking or waiting for a bus.

  • If the person is in a nursing home or other care facility, check with the nurses for their plan to deal with high temperatures. Visit as much as you can.

  • Be attentive. An older person’s body handles high temperatures differently and they are typically colder than younger people. They may not notice they’re getting overheated.
©2018 Easy Comforts


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