If you have ever lived through a Phoenix summer, you know that it takes some preparation to make it bearable. Seniors are more prone to heat-related illnesses because they are more sensitive to heat as compared to younger generations. Our aging vulnerable adults simply fail to see the warning signs of heat-related illnesses or injuries until it is too late. As we age, the response of our bodies to temperatures that are higher also changes. Here are a few tips for this summer:
- Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat that shades your face, neck and ears.
- Seek shade whenever possible.
- Wear sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher as well as UVA and UVB protection.
- Re-apply sunscreen regularly, especially after swimming, perspiring heavily or drying skin with a towel.
- Wear sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
- Avoid direct sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are strongest.
- If you need or desire exercise go to the Mall where it is air conditioned and you are protected from the sun.
Another important thing that people tend to forget about is how their medication and diet might affect them. Medications that encourage dehydration and loss of electrolytes need to be combated with lots of water. Low carb diets also need lots of water as the extra protein can cause the body to heat up.
These tips should help everyone beat the heat, but if you find that the summer seems to be overwhelming this year, consider some respite care and let everybody take some time to cool off.