Hot Weather Tips For Seniors - Senior Alert Medical

Hot Weather Tips For Seniors

by Medical Care Alert · 0 comments

Nationwide, it is HOT this summer.  Seniors are especially susceptible to heat and dehydration.  

Everyone can be affected by heat in different ways, but there are some people in the community more susceptible to prolonged extreme heat. For older adults, extreme heat can be a serious issue because of their health and mobility status.

There are a number of simple things you can do to prevent the hot weather becoming a serious problem for you or family members, friends or neighbors.

Hot Weather Tips for Seniors, and Everybody: 

1. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER – Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. You lose a lot of water through perspiration. If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink while the weather is hot.Drink water. Carry water or juice (with natural sugar only, not artificial sugar) with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body

2. AVOID ALCOHOL AND CAFFEINE – These beverages cause your body to lose more water, as do drinks containing large amounts of sugar.

3. STAY INDOORS – If possible, seek an air-conditioned environment. If your home does not have air conditioning, visit the shopping mall or public library. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area. Plan any outside activities during the coolest part of the day, early in the morning or later in the evening.

 4. DRESS COOL – Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing, sunscreen, and a wide-brimmed hat if you are outdoors. Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun’s energy. It is also a good idea to wear hats or to use an umbrella

5. AVOID STRENUOUS ACTIVITY – Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink 2-4 glasses of nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. If you are on low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking sports beverages.

6. KNOW YOUR MEDICATION – The heat may affect your reaction to certain medications.  If you’re not sure, check with your doctor or pharmacist.

7. HAVE A FRIEND CHECK UP ON YOU – Plan to have a friend or neighbor check on you at different times of the day when the temperature is extremely high.  If you have one of our medical alert systems, check in with the monitoring center and let them know how you are doing.

8. PLAN YOUR DAY – Plan your day in a way that allows you to stay out of the heat during the hottest part of the day. Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the early morning or after 6:00 or 7:00 p.m.

9. SHOP AND EAT FOR HOT WEATHER – Ahead of hotter weather, buy a few extra items to make sure you have enough food at home to last over the hot period. Think about paying bills on the internet or over the phone.  Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein which increases metabolic (body) heat.


Know What These Heat-Related Terms Mean

Heat Wave: More than 48 hours of high heat (90°F or higher) and high humidity (80 percent relative humidity or higher) are expected.

Heat Index: A number in degrees Fahrenheit that tells how hot it really feels with the heat and humidity. Exposure to full sunshine can increase the heat index by 15°F.

Heat cramps: Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. They usually involve the abdominal muscles or the legs. It is generally thought that the loss of water and salt from heavy sweating causes the cramps.

Heat Exhaustion: Heat exhaustion is less dangerous than heat stroke. It typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a warm, humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating. Fluid loss causes blood flow to decrease in the vital organs, resulting in a form of shock. With heat exhaustion, sweat does not evaporate as it should, possibly because of high humidity or too many layers of clothing. As a result, the body is not cooled properly. Signals include cool, moist, pale, flushed or red skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; and exhaustion. Body temperature will be near normal.

Heat Stroke: Also known as sunstroke, heat stroke is life-threatening. The victim’s temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly. Signals include hot, red and dry skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing. Body temperature can be very high–sometimes as high as 105°F.

Got your own tips for dealing with the heat?  Leave us a comment!  We all need more hot weather tips for seniors to share!


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