Summer Safety Tips for Older Adults

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Summer has officially begun with high temperatures right around the corner. Stay safe this summer by protecting yourself and your loved ones from experiencing the harmful effects of the sun and symptoms of heat-related illness, also known as hyperthermia.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults are at a higher risk for heat-related health concerns as their bodies are unable to adjust to sudden temperature changes as quickly as younger adults. Additionally, you or your loved one may be taking medications, have a chronic illness, or other health issues that could affect your body’s ability to regulate temperature. This can all lead to heat-related health issues such as:

Heat Exhaustion

Occurs when your body can no longer cool itself down. Symptoms of heat exhaustion can include feeling thirsty, weak, dizzy, lack of balance, nausea, excessive sweat and clammy, cold skin. Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, so it is crucial to find a cool place to rest, drink plenty of water, and seek help from your care team if you are at home alone or staying in a skilled nursing center.

Heat Stroke

Occurs when you can no longer regulate your internal temperature and your body temperature can reach up to 106°F in a short period of time. Symptoms of heat stroke may include fainting, irregular high body temperature, rapid or weak pulse, confusion, and loss of ability to produce sweat even while it is hot. Heat stroke is a medical emergency, seek help immediately if you or your loved one are experiencing symptoms.

Dehydration

Occurs when your body is not receiving the proper amount of liquids to support bodily function. You may be experiencing symptoms such as fatigue, headache, confusion, feeling thirsty, and dizziness. It is critical to understand that older adults have a higher risk for dehydration because as we age, our sense of thirst is reduced which can lead to not drinking enough water. In addition, older adults have a different body composition than younger adults that can contribute to an increased risk for dehydration.

Prevent Heat-Related Illness

As temperatures start to rise, it may be tempting to spend your afternoons outside, but it is important to consider a few precautions if you are at a higher risk for hyperthermia:

  • Stay out of the heat for an extended period of time when the sun is the strongest, typically between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Stay in an air-conditioned, well-ventilated area.
  • Remember to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Use a cold, wet washcloth to cool down your body if you are feeling overheated.
  • Avoid intense, strenuous activities and exercise outside when it is hot.
  • Wear sunscreen to protect yourself from a sunburn which can make it more difficult for your body to cool itself down.
  • Talk with your healthcare team about your medications and how they can affect your ability to regulate body temperature.
  • If you experience any symptoms related to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or dehydration seek medical help immediately.

Keep Your Skin Safe in the Sun

While you should take precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses, it is also important to take care of your skin during the heat of the summer. The sun produces damaging UV rays that can increase your risk for skin cancer, early skin aging, and sunburns so it is important to learn how you can protect yourself and your loved ones from the sun this summer. To reduce your risk of sun damage the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, limiting your time in the sun during the middle of day, and protecting your skin with hats, sunglasses, and sun-protective clothing.

Prestige Care is Here for You

While many of our residents at Prestige Care may be at an increased risk for heat-related illnesses, our professional team of healthcare providers are committed to ensuring all of our residents are safe and comfortable in their environment and have the tools and resources they need to prevent such related illnesses.

At Prestige, our centers are equipped with air-conditioning, shaded outdoor areas, and plenty of water access so our residents are able to enjoy the highest quality of life even during the summer weather. We also provide 24/7 around-the-clock care at our skilled nursing centers to ensure our residents are receiving the care they need to reduce their risk of hyperthermia and prevent rehospitalization. To find a Prestige Care location nearest you, visit www.prestigecare.com/find-a-location.