Summer's here and so is the heat. As you emerge from your winter cocoon and enjoy the great weather, don't underestimate the danger of the sweltering sun. Here are a few tips to help you beat the summer heat.
WHO IS VULNERABLE
Seniors are especially vulnerable to heat stroke, which can cause anything from fainting to confusion, agitation and wobbling. Look for signs like flushed cheeks or a change in pulse.
Those more vulnerable tend to be overweight, have heart, lung or kidney disease, blood pressure issues, or anyone generally not feeling well or having a fever.
Those taking medications for diuretics, sedatives, blood pressure and some heart medications may make it harder for the body to cool down. Also drinking alcohol can increase your risk of overheating.
HOW TO BEAT THE HEAT
There are a ton of great ways to stay safe from the summer heat.
- Drink lots of fluids. Whether its water, juice or Gatorade, drink often.
- If drinking is a challenge, eat lots of watery fruits like watermelon, pineapple, mangos, leeches, grapes, plums and apples.
- Have a nice cold soup like gazpacho or pureed broccoli and spinach
STAY OUT OF THE SUN
- Stay inside your home during peak sun hours. Get your chores done in the morning or evening. Learn from the Italians and Spaniards and take a siesta in the afternoon.
- If you have to go shopping, go to an air conditioned mall, and park inside.
GET AIR CONDITIONING
- Make sure you sleep in an air conditioned environment. If you can't get an air conditioner installed, and a fan won't cut it, see if you can stay at a relatives until the heat wave has passed.
- If your apartment unit is not air conditioned, spend your days in the common areas of your building, which may be air conditioned.
- If you don't have access to air conditioning in your home or apartment building, perhaps you can get relief at the mall, community library, civic center, or local senior center.
- Open your windows in the evening, if you don't have air conditioning and keep the blinds and drapes closed to keep out the sun.
- Don't use your oven. There's no need to add a 400 degree heater to the situation.
- When there's a heat wave, dress like it. That means short sleeved shirts, shorts, dresses, skirts and thin fabrics.
- Where light colored clothing. Black and navy attract heat.
- Where a wide brimmed sun hat, that's breathable and gives you plenty of shade. Don't worry about the fashion statement.
- If need be, you can even bring a sun umbrella. Other sun cultures have used them for centuries. As our climate heats, up, we can learn from them.
AVOID THE FOLLOWING
- Outdoor exercise. A heat wave is no time to tax your body to the extreme. If you must, do some exercise indoors. Take the opportunity to try some new exercises, a new gym, an indoor pool or walking in the mall. Take an elevator instead of the stairs and the car instead of walking.
- Don't go to crowded places. It amplifies the heat and may make it harder to find a seat. This can included non-air conditioned buses or subways, concerts in the park and outdoor sporting events.