Seniors need to take precautions for a safe and enjoyable summer season

Published Jun 25, 2017 at 7:32pm

As summertime nears, we often spend a greater amount of time outdoors.

With this in mind, it is important to take extra precautions when it comes to protecting your health.

According to the federal health organization the Centers for Disease Control, heat exposure has resulted in 7,233 deaths in the U.S. from 1999 through 2009.  

People 65 years and older are at an increased risk for experiencing heat stress compared to younger age groups.

This is in part due to the difficulty with the body adjusting to sudden changes in temperature.

Chronic health conditions can make it difficult for a person’s body to respond to heat as well.

People over age 65 are more likely to be taking prescription medications which also can affect the body’s ability to regulate body temperature.  

CDC Tips to Stay Cool in the Heat:

Here are some tips from the federal health officials at the CDC to help keep seniors safe and healthy during the hottest season of the year:

• Stay in air conditioned buildings as much as possible.

• Do not rely solely on fans for staying cool during extreme heat.

• Make sure to drink plenty of water and other non-alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated.

• Avoid using the stove or oven to cook

• Take cool showers or baths to cool off

• Wear lightweight, light-colored, and loose fitting clothing

• Reduce strenuous activities on very warm days

Know the signs

There are several things to watch out for during really warm weather, including heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat-related illness where the body is not able to control body temperature and the ability to sweat (or cool off) diminishes.

Heat stroke is very serious and can cause death or disability. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the following symptoms after being exposed to warm weather, try to get the person to a cool place, and seek medical attention right away.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke:

• Body temperature above 103 degrees F.

• Red, hot, dry skin

• Rapid pulse

• Throbbing headache

• Dizziness

• Nausea

Heat exhaustion is another type of heat-related illness that can result when a person is exposed to warm weather and doesn’t stay hydrated. Watch out for the following signs of heat exhaustion.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion:

• Heavy sweating

• Paleness

• Rapid pulse

• Muscle cramping

• Fatigue

• Dizziness

• Headache

• Nausea or vomiting

• Fainting

Summertime often equates to more time out in the sun.

It is important to pay special attention to avoiding sunburns.

Sunburn can increase your risk for skin cancer — the most common form of cancer in the U.S.

The majority of skin cancer cases are due to UV exposure.

Tips To Stay Healthyand Still Enjoy the Sun:

• Seek shade during the day when UV rays are the strongest and most damaging.

• Cover exposed skin from the sun

• Wear a hat with a wide brim hat to protect your face, head, ears, and neck.

• Wear long sleeved, light and loose fitting shirts to keep skin from being exposed and to keep arms and torso cool.

• Wear sunglasses to block UVA and UVB rays

• Wear sunscreen with at least an SPF 15 or higher and UVA and UVB protection.  

• A higher SPF indicates greater protection

• Apply 30 minutes before going outside and reapply frequently

• Most sunscreens work by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering the sun’s rays