Columbia has earned the nickname "Famously Hot" for a reason! July and August feel like the hottest months of summer. It’s especially important for senior citizens to be proactive and keep cool to avoid heat related illnesses particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are vital steps to take to minimize the risk of health issues that may be caused by high temperatures.
The simplest and most basic steps including drinking plenty of water, having access to air conditioning and wearing clothing and accessories offering sun protection. The main health problems exacerbated by summer heat are dehydration, heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
Know the Warning Signs
Knowing the warning signs for these heat related health issues can help seniors or their caregivers to seek and receive help early on. Dehydration is having a loss of water in the body and signs include weakness, headache, muscle cramps, dizziness, confusion and passing out. Heat exhaustion is caused by too much heat to the body and can lead to a heat stroke. Signs for exhaustion include heavy sweating or no sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, paleness, headache, nausea or vomiting and a fast or weak pulse.
If symptoms progress, a heat stroke may occur. This is when the body temperature has a dangerous rise to 103 or more. Other symptoms include red, hot and dry skin, a fast pulse, headache, dizziness, nausea or vomiting and passing out. Check out these tips below to help keep symptoms at bay and stay safe and cool during the dog days of summer.
Water, Water, & More Water!
It’s especially recommended for elderly to stay hydrated. This may be difficult and seniors may not think about drinking water during the day. In addition to drinking enough water, they should avoid drinks containing caffeine or alcohol and this may increase dehydration. If you must be outside, drinking sweat replacement drinks can replace extra fluid lost.
Stay in the Shade
When temperatures creep above 90 degrees and towards the 100 degree mark, it’s best to avoid prolonged exposure in the sun and keep cool. Try to plan activities in the early morning or late evening when temperatures take a dip.
Dress the Part
Light-colored clothing and looser fitting clothing will help your body reject some of the heat.
Also, cotton fabrics and other breathable fabrics can help your body regulate its temperature. When it comes to protecting your head, a hat with a broad or wide brim and sunglasses are a must. Let’s not forget the sunscreen either because skin cancer is still a real threat. An umbrella can also help protect you from the sun. Picnic table umbrellas or beach umbrellas are a perfect accessory.
These tips will help keep seniors cool and hydrated. If you are a caregiver, take into consideration these tips for protecting your loved ones during the summer heat wave. For more year-round Tips for Seniors, be sure and follow the Hands & Hearts Blog! If you're looking for the best in home caregivers in Columbia, SC and the surrounding areas, give us a call today!