Summer is hot, and while this isn’t revelatory in any way it is important to note that heat causes more deaths than any other weather-related hazard.
Older adults are particularly at risk when it comes to heat-related injuries and illness due to changes that take place in the human body as we age. Below are tips on how to beat the heat and stay healthy this summer from Dr. Michael Stern, co-director of the Geriatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, and Dr. Evelyn Granieri, the director of geriatrics at New York-Presbyterian/Allen Hospital.
• Reduce or eliminate strenuous activity and stay in the coolest place you can when temperatures are at their highest.
• Drink lots of fluids, substituting caffeinated and alcoholic beverages with water or sports drinks, even if you are not thirsty. If you are properly hydrated, your urine should be clear. Though, take note, if you have a heart condition, you should consult your physician regarding your appropriate fluid intake.
• Sunburn makes it harder to stay cool, so if you’re going outside for an extended period of time, put on sunblock that is at least SPF 15 — even if it’s cloudy (UVA rays penetrate clouds).
• Wear lightweight, loose and light-colored clothing.
• Always take extra clothing off when you go outside and turn on cooling systems immediately when you go inside as a habit.
• It is important to check on family, friends and neighbors with memory problems, as they may not recognize or communicate that they are uncomfortable. And even if you don’t have memory problems or know someone who does, have someone available that will be able to check on you and your wellbeing.
For more details on heat-related illness, visit http://bit.ly/11uKYUb