Summer Safety Tips for Seniors
The summer season is an exciting time of year with fun outdoor activities and beautiful weather. But the heat that comes along with the season can be brutal, especially for seniors who have a higher sensitivity to heat.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun in the summer sun! If you’re cautious and stick to a few safety tips, you’ll be good to go. Here are 5 summer safety tips for seniors:
1. Stay hydrated.
The standard suggestion is to drink 6-8 cups of water a day. If you intend to spend an extended amount of time out in the sun, you may want to aim even higher to avoid dehydration. If you have been instructed to restrict fluids, check with your doctor first.
Don’t just depend on your body to tell you when you’re thirsty. One of the small frustrations of aging is that seniors become less aware of their thirst. Be proactive in staying hydrated and make sure it’s water, sports drinks, or juice that you’re drinking – stay away from sodas, coffee, and especially alcohol.
2. Don’t stay outside for too long.
Check the weather before you head outside, if extremely hot weather is predicted, you should keep your plans for outdoor activities reasonably short. Don’t plan to spend the whole day out in the sun – stick to a couple of hours and then head inside for a break.
3. Wear sunscreen.
Stick some in your car or anywhere else you can think of where you’re likely to have it when you need it. Wearing a hat and protective clothing is also a great idea. If you think you might forget to re-apply sunscreen, set yourself an alarm on your phone.
4. Check the side effects of your prescriptions.
Some medications make people more sensitive to the sun. Make sure you know if your prescriptions mean you need to take extra precautions. It probably won’t mean you have to forego outdoor activities, just that you’ll need to take more caution.
5. Know the early warning signs of heat-related illnesses.
Hopefully these tips can help keep you from encountering a heat related illness, but you should still be prepared. Review the symptoms for dehydration, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and heat syncope which you can find at www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning. If you suspect you’re experiencing any of these, don’t be shy about asking for water, shade, or some time inside in air conditioning.