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The long days of summer can pose a serious threat to anyone if the necessary precautions are not taken, and this is especially true for seniors.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals aged 65 and above are at a higher risk of experiencing heat-related health issues. As we grow older, our bodies become less capable of adapting quickly to sudden temperature changes, and certain medical conditions and medications can further exacerbate the risks of heat-related illnesses.
Discover the risks of excessive sun exposure and how to prevent sun risks so you can safely enjoy outdoor fun with your loved ones worry-free!
To ensure a safe and enjoyable time outdoors, it is crucial for older adults to stay hydrated. Make sure to bring extra water bottles for all your adventures, especially during long periods under the sun. Additionally, incorporating water-rich foods like refreshing watermelon, crisp lettuce, juicy peaches, ripe tomatoes, or succulent strawberries into your diet can provide excellent hydration. Remember to steer clear of soda or alcohol, as these beverages can contribute to dehydration.
Dress For Protection
Make sure to stock up on sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection and has a minimum SPF of 30. This will effectively shield your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. To keep the sun at bay and protect your face and eyes, don’t forget to wear a hat and sunglasses. And for ultimate comfort in the summer heat, choose light-colored and loose-fitting clothing that will keep you cool and relaxed.
Know When to Stay Inside
Plan your day outdoors wisely by checking the weather forecast for any extreme heat alerts. Remember, the sun is at its strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so it’s best to limit your outdoor activities to the cooler morning and evening hours. If the temperature becomes too hot to handle, seek refuge indoors in air-conditioned havens like shopping malls, movie theaters, or libraries. And for older adults looking for a cooler alternative, consider enjoying a staycation in the comfort of your own home or exploring local attractions to beat the summer heat.
Check Your Medications
Changes in temperature can have an impact on the effectiveness of certain medications, as they may require cool storage conditions. Moreover, some medications may necessitate seniors to avoid direct sunlight. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional to address any concerns and to carefully read prescription labels to ensure optimal medication efficacy.
As the temperature rises, many older adults are often tempted to cut costs by reducing their use of the air conditioner. However, this can actually be dangerous, and in some cases, even fatal. To ensure your comfort while also saving on your energy bill, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to a refreshing 78°F (26°C) when you are at home.
Maintaining regular visits from a family member, friend, or neighbor is an excellent way to stay connected and prioritize the safety of seniors during these scorching summer days. For those who find solace in gardening or taking daily walks, it is essential to inform a loved one about their routine so that they can provide a check-in service in case of any emergencies. Additionally, creating a comprehensive list of emergency contacts, including family members, doctors, and caregivers, ensures that all necessary information is readily available in times of urgency.
By following sun safety guidelines and implementing essential safety measures, seniors can fully embrace the excitement and thrill of the summer season.
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