Keeping your cool this summer
If there’s one important thing to remember about summer and seniors, it’s that we don’t always know when we’re becoming overheated. Many of us don’t sweat, our circulation is often compromised, and medical conditions (as well as the drugs we take for them) can mask the dangers of heat.
Dehydration and hypothermia (heat stroke) can afflict us before we’re aware that it’s happening, and that can be deadly.
Here are some tips to help you stay safe and cool this summer:
• Stay in the air conditioning as much as possible. Air conditioning can give you a chill, but it’s better to drape a sweater across your shoulders in an airconditioned room than be out in the heat. If your home isn’t cooled, make it a point to go to an air- conditioned space during the heat of the day.
Try the library, movie theater, indoor mall or senior center. Perhaps you can choose a different one every afternoon of the week. Call the local aging agency to ask about cooling stations.
• Do outdoor errands before 10:00 a.m. or after 6:00 p.m.
• Find out if the local senior center or fire department will be handing out free fans this year. Don’t wait until the fans are all gone.
• If you don’t have air conditioning, ask your doctor if you’re taking any drugs that are affected by high heat.
• Wear light, loose clothing, like cotton, and take off your hat when you’re indoors.
• Drink enough liquids, and this means water. Avoid caffeine, which is dehydrating. Try fresh fruit or unsweetened popsicles.
• To be sure you get enough water, drink by the clock: at least a few swallows every 15 minutes. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Keep a water bottle next to your TV chair or on the counter so you’ll see it.