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Beat the Heat: Essential Tips for Older People to Stay Cool this Summer

Published on 21 June 2023 02:38 PM

With the summer weather upon us, soaring temperatures and intense heatwaves pose potential health risks, particularly for older people. As the mercury rises, it becomes crucial to take extra precautions to stay cool and comfortable.

Here are some essential tips to help older people beat the heat and enjoy a safe and pleasant summer.

1. Stay hydrated: Adequate hydration is paramount to beat the heat. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, even if you don't feel thirsty. Avoid excessive consumption of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, as they can contribute to dehydration. Opt for hydrating foods such as fruits, vegetables, and soups.

2. Clothing: Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, and breathable clothing made from natural fibres like cotton. Light-coloured garments reflect sunlight and help keep the body cool. Don't forget to wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays.

3. Seek shade and limit sun exposure: Minimise exposure to direct sunlight, especially during the hottest parts of the day. When outdoors, seek shady areas or use an umbrella for additional protection. Plan outdoor activities during cooler mornings or evening hours.

4. Create a cool environment: Keep your living space cool by closing curtains, blinds, or shades during the day to block out direct sunlight. If needed, use fans to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.

5. Cooling down: Wetting a washcloth with cool water and placing it on your neck, forehead, or wrists can help cool down the body.

6. Stay connected: Maintain regular contact with friends, family, or neighbours during hot spells. This ensures that someone is aware of your well-being and can help if needed.

7. Eat light and balanced meals: Opt for light, refreshing meals that are easy to digest. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet, as they are hydrating and packed with essential nutrients. Avoid heavy, greasy, or spicy foods that can make you feel sluggish and uncomfortable.

8. Keep an eye on medications: Some medications can affect how your body handles heat. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist to understand if any of your medications increase your sensitivity to heat or if adjustments are necessary during the summer months.

9. Exercise with caution: Engage in physical activity during cooler hours and in well-ventilated areas. If outdoor exercise is preferred, choose shady paths or parks. Listen to your body and take breaks when needed. Stay hydrated before, during, and after exercise.

10. Stay informed: Keep track of weather forecasts and be aware of heatwave warnings in your area.

By following these tips, older people can beat the heat, stay safe, and enjoy the summer season to the fullest. Remember, taking proactive steps to keep cool is vital for your overall well-being. Stay hydrated, stay cool, and savour the joys of summertime!