The summer is a wonderful time however, as we all know the summer can also get very HOT. Extreme heat can be dangerous to all however, especially dangerous to seniors as heat strokes and heat exhaustion are prevalent threats in the elderly community. The University of Chicago recently conducted a study which concluded that 40% of heat related deaths in the United States, were of those aged 65 and over. This is no surprise as many life factors of the elderly make them more susceptible to heat for example, our ability to recognize changes within our body temperature lessens as we age. There are also various medications usually prescribed to those older individuals, that can also make them more susceptible to dehydration. Additionally, there are certain illnesses common in seniors, which make them especially vulnerable to heat. Compiled below are some precautions to help avoid any heat related fatalities this summer.
Water is the number one component in helping avoid dehydration as well as other health problems. Be sure to drink plenty of water at home and if choosing to travel be sure to pack water for your commute. It is also best to avoid highly caffeinated and alcoholic drinks as they may contribute to dehydration.
The heat index reflects how one’s body would interpret the temperature outside or how hot it “actually feels” versus the temperature outside. If this temperature is in the 90’s or above avoid any outdoor activities for that day and be sure to stay in a well conditioned area.
Wearing heavy or dark clothing can actually attract and retain heat more thus, increasing the risk for heat related illness when not properly clothed in extreme heat. Avoid dark clothing and replace with light and breathable garments, allowing for proper ventilation and cooling.
Although exercise certainly has its health benefits, it is best to avoid any strenuous activities which could contribute to overheating and dehydration. For this reason it best to avoid excercise on especially hot days.
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