The importance of keeping cool in summer heat

Summertime ushers in all sorts of fun and exciting outdoor activities. Many plans include reunions, family gatherings, picnics, pool parties, walks in the park, a stroll at the Zoo and plenty of other fresh air venues. Sharing time with young and older loved ones is part of the joy. It is also important to remember that rising temperatures and higher humidity can be a danger if some simple precautions are missed.

Over-exposure to heat, especially in peak months can cause heat exhaustion or even heat stroke. These serious conditions can impact any healthy person of any age, but older adults are especially susceptible.  This article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes further.

Common tips for staying cool in the heat include:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking water regularly
  • Participate in outdoor activities in the morning or evening, avoiding the peak heat of the day
  • Wear lightweight, light colored clothing
  • Use 30 SPF sunscreen or higher
  • Spend time in cool, air-conditioned places
  • Be aware of any adverse medication reactions to heat/sun

More details about these tips can be found in this Top 10 Summer Safety Tips article from Senior Services of America.

Heat related illnesses

In addition to the obvious sunburn, which can be a mild or more treatable condition, there are other heat related illnesses that can happen when proper prevention steps are not taken. There are four listed below as described in this article from Health in Aging. The article also explains how to identify and treat the conditions.

  • Dehydration — a loss of water in your body
  • Heat Stroke — a dangerous rise in your body temperature can be deadly
  • Heat Exhaustion — over-exposure to heat can lead to heat stroke if not treated
  • Heat Syncope — fainting due to high temperatures

Be safe together as you spend time enjoying activities with loved ones in the warmer months. These are longer days with great memories in the sunshine when you are being mindful of sun, high temperatures and high humidity.

Download article PDF here