If we are to believe the forecasts we are set to enjoy some much warmer weather – and whilst some of us may be excited at the prospect of long, hot, sunny days, the elderly in our community need extra care and attention as the temperatures rise.
It is important for all of us to consider our health and safety in extreme weather conditions, this is especially important for the older members of our communities. Here are our top tips to staying safe and well in hot weather.
Drink! Try to drink at least six glasses of water per day. Avoid getting thirsty by keeping nice fresh water on hand – I like to keep bottles of water in the fridge. By the time you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. If you are exercising or doing any type of prolonged physical activity drink more. Avoid alcohol and don’t consume too many caffeinated drinks in the heat – they actually increase dehydration.
Eat foods that contain fluids – watermelon and fruits, vegetables, cold soups and ice lollies are all good options. Avoid salty foods if you can. You may not feeling terribly hungry when it is hot but remember it is important to eat small amounts to keep strength up.
Consider your clothing: Aim for loose, lightweight, and light-colored long sleeves to help protect your skin from sun, while also allowing your skin to breathe. Use wide brimmed hats to keep the sun off of your face and neck. Glasses that block UVA and UVB rays can help reduce the cumulative effect of damage linked to cataracts.
Sunscreen is essential to prevent sunburn. Even short periods in the sun can cause burning and skin damage. Look for a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays, and also have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more.
Make use of fans or portable air conditioning units. Both can be purchased from local supermarkets and retailers such as John Lewis or Argos. They are a very wise investment to help to keep you cool.
You may want to throw open doors and windows to keep your home cool – please do consider your security however. Smaller windows are generally fine to be left open but doors and large windows that are open wide can present security problems. This is why fans and air conditioning units are sometimes a better option.
The sun is strongest between 10 am and 4 pm so limit your outdoor activity to the morning and the evening, when the temperature is lower and the sun is less intense.
Heat stroke can be very serious. Signs include confusion, disorientation, dry skin, excessive tiredness, headache, lethargy, nausea, and a rapid pulse. If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms please seek medical help ASAP.
Take the time to check on elderly neighbors and relatives – do they need some help in the hot weather?