When the mercury soars, seniors in the Columbus area are at greater risk for heat-related problems. These can range from minor sun poisoning to life-threatening dehydration or sunstroke. Being aware of potential issues can help you keep the older adult you love safe this summer.
Summer Safety Tips for Central Ohio Seniors
- Hydration: Encourage the older adults in your life to stay hydrated during the hot, humid summer days in Ohio. Drinking 8 to 10 glasses of liquids each day is important. Water is best. Some foods have high water content and they can also help improve hydration. Those foods include melons, berries, cucumber, and leafy greens.
- Avoid caffeine: Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages should be avoided. They can have a diuretic effect that increases an older adult’s risk for dehydration.
- Use sunscreen: Two common mistakes people make are putting too little sunscreen on before heading outdoors and then failing to reapply it throughout the day. This is even more important as we age and our skin becomes more fragile. Keep your senior loved ones stocked up with sunscreen and remind them to use it. A rule of thumb dermatologists share is that you should apply the equivalent of one shot glass full of sunscreen every two hours.
- Medication side effects: Some medicines that are more commonly prescribed for seniors can also increase their sensitivity to the sun. Knowing which ones can be a problem can help prevent sun-related illnesses such as heat stroke.
- Finally, be aware of the symptoms that can indicate a problem. Most common ones include:
- Excessive sweating
- Weakness and fatigue
- Cold, clammy skin despite the temperature
- Fast, weak pulse
- Nausea or vomiting
If a senior loved one begins exhibiting any of these symptoms, seek immediate help. Early intervention is critical to preventing a heat stroke. Also keep in mind that heat-related illnesses often occur more quickly in older adults than they do in younger people.