Summer Safety

How to Stay Cool and Avoid Heat Exhaustion

People over the age of 65 are more prone to heat exhaustion and other heat-related illnesses because of the way the body temperature is regulated. Sweat production and body fat are related to how the body cools itself off. Seniors don’t sweat as much as the younger generation and often store more fat. These factors can cause dehydration and other heat-related issues when the body is not being hydrated correctly. So how do you stay cool during the hot summer months and what is the best way to make sure you avoid heat exhaustion. 

First, preventing dehydration is the most important thing you can do. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water and sports drinks that hydrate the body. Avoid drinks that are not going to hydrate you. Avoid soda, coffee, and alcohol which do not help re-hydrate the body.

“Know the signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion. If you know the signs and what to look for, you can start helping yourself faster.”

Keep yourself cool when you are outdoors. Avoid staying in direct sunlight for a lengthy amount of time. If you are going to be outside, keep yourself shaded and cooled. Avoid wearing layers of clothing during the hot months. Keep your clothing material light and airy so that your body can breathe.

Stay inside during the hottest parts of the day. If you enjoy being outside, at least be inside when the sun is at its hottest and most dangerous point of the day. Pay attention to the news and weather so that you are aware of extreme temperatures and heatwaves. Plan any trips and activities around these events so that you are not exposed to dangerous temperatures.

Know the signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion. If you know the signs and what to look for, you can start helping yourself faster. Headaches, nausea, rapid heartbeat, and muscle cramps are all signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion. If you feel this happening, start the process of cooling off your body. Drink cold fluids that will replenish and hydrate your body, make sure you are in a cool room with good air conditioning or take a cooling bath. Your body temperature needs to be regulated and cooled down so that heat exhaustion doesn’t set in. If it does, it could result in heatstroke which can be very dangerous.

Other underlying health conditions in seniors can make them more vulnerable to the heat and heat exhaustion. It is essential to talk to your doctor about your medications, your illnesses, and diets to know if you are more at risk of heat exhaustion and heatstroke and what steps you need to take to avoid these and other heat-related illnesses.

Hot weather can be extremely dangerous and it can be difficult for some to adapt to that heat. Make sure you take the proper precautions to keep yourself cool during dangerous temperatures and care for your health. It can be hard for older citizens to recognize some of these signs and symptoms, but these preventative measures can help.