How to Stay Safe and Beat the Heat This Summer
July 15, 2022 | Kathy Ingulsrud
Summer! The season that makes us forget the cold of the previous months. The season that brings sports, graduations, outdoor activities, gardens, the Minnesota State Fair, and all sorts of fun in the sun. Fun that is, as long as we are protected from the heat.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the following strategies to beat the heat:
- Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid sugary and alcoholic drinks because they cause our bodies to lose fluid and can cause stomach cramps.
- Take several breaks, especially midday when the sun is hottest.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Use sunscreen and remember to reapply it.
- Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
- Check on friends or neighbors during extremely hot days, and have someone do the same for you.
- Stay in an air-conditioned location as much as possible.
Creative Ways to Beat the Summer Heat
Get creative with your strategies to beat the heat! Re-discover favorite cold snacks like popsicles, frozen peas, or slightly frozen grapes. Enjoy cold meals like fresh fruit, pasta salads, or cold chicken. If possible, plan your outdoor activities either early in the morning or when the sun starts to set to take advantage of those cooler temperatures. Wear layers of lightweight clothing so that you can easily adjust your temperature throughout the day by removing or adding layers. Visit air-conditioned public areas such as libraries and community centers to enjoy both the cool air and some time with friends.
An essential factor that seniors will want to keep in mind is that our bodies don’t adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature as we age. In addition, chronic medical conditions can change how our body responds to heat. Prescription medications can also impair our body’s ability to regulate temperature. Go easy and watch for the warning signs of heat-related illnesses. Symptoms like a fast pulse, dizziness, nausea, confusion, or muscle cramps need to be addressed right away.
Summer offers so many opportunities for fun and connection with others! A little planning and protection can help you enjoy them safely.
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