Did you know that as our bodies age, they become less able to adequately respond to summer heat? This can be a serious problem, putting older people at a much higher risk of heat-related illnesses than younger people. These illnesses include heat stroke, heat edema, heat syncope, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion. By taking a few precautions, however, you can beat the heat and stay safe while still enjoying some time outdoors.
- Know your risks. It’s not just aging that reduces your heat tolerance, but also certain conditions that go along with the aging process. Poor circulation and inefficient sweat glands, heart, lung, or kidney diseases, high blood pressure, being substantially overweight or underweight, and taking certain medications can all make you more vulnerable to the heat of the sun. Drinking alcoholic beverages can also put you at higher risk, as can becoming dehydrated.
- Learn how to identify heat-related ailments. Signs of dehydration include weakness, headache, muscle cramps, dizziness, confusion, and passing out. Heat stroke manifests as red, hot, dry skin, a fast pulse, a headache, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, confusion, and passing out, all caused by a temperature of 103 or higher. Heat syncope causes dizziness and fainting, as does heat exhaustion, which also brings with it muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, paleness, headache, cold or clammy skin, and a fast or weak pulse. You might experience heavy sweating when you’re suffering heat exhaustion, but you may also experience no sweating at all.
- If you can, stay indoors. It’s fun to go outside in summer, but it’s smart to limit your outings to early mornings or late afternoons. You might consider choosing activities that occur in air-conditioned buildings, getting your exercise by walking in the mall and finding fun things to do like going to the movies, bowling, visiting the library, or dining out.
- When you are outdoors, be cautious. Drink plenty of water, juice, and other caffeine and alcohol-free beverages, so that you’ll stay hydrated. Wear loose, light-colored clothes with a broad-brimmed hat, and wear sunscreen every day. If you feel like you’re getting too hot, take a tepid bath, shower, or sponge bath.
- Take action if you think there’s a heat-related problem. For heat syncope, you may be able to remedy the problem by lying down with your feet up and drinking plenty of fluids. For all other heat-related ailments, it’s best to call 911. While you’re waiting for assistance, drink water or sports drink, loosen your clothing, and use cool cloths to help cool your body, or douse yourself with water. If you’re helping someone with a heat-related ailment, only give that person something to drink if he or she is awake and can swallow.
With a few precautions, you can have a safe summer, and summer is a wonderful season to spend at Parkwood Heights! We’ve got the perfect location for a relaxed lifestyle, with 122 acres of beautiful grounds and spacious, well-appointed floor plans where seniors can live independently or enjoy support, all while enjoying the closeness of friendly neighbors. Located just minutes from Victor, Fairport, Farmington, and Canandaigua, Parkwood Heights is a great place to enjoy your time with friends and family, whether you’re relaxing at the Parkwood Park, taking a walk around the campus, joining in a game of bocce or horseshoes, or just relaxing in our scenic setting. Call (315) 986-9100 to learn more about all that we have to offer, or check out our website and reach out if you have any questions.