Are you hot? I sure am! They don’t call these the “Dog Days of Summer” for no reason! When your body can’t cool itself enough to maintain a healthy temperature, heat stress may occur. As I get older, I find that I am more sensitive to heat and humidity. Similarly, older humans are more prone to heat stress for several reasons. According to the CDC:
- They don’t adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature.
- They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat.
- They are more likely to take prescription medicines that impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibit perspiration.
To protect yourself from heat-related stress, follow these tips:
Drink more fluids, regardless of your activity level. Avoid drinks that contain alcohol or lots of sugar because they cause you to lose more body fluid. If your doctor limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills (diuretics), ask him how much you should drink when the weather is hot. Mom always makes sure I have plenty of water, but every once in a while I’ll get an icy treat!
Take a page from my book – rest! If possible, remain indoors and don’t engage in strenuous activities during the heat of the day. If you must be outdoors, limit your activity to morning and evening hours and try to rest often in shady areas.
Take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath. My favorite way to cool off is taking a dip in the pool.
If possible, seek an air-conditioned environment. If you don’t have air conditioning, consider visiting an air conditioned shopping mall or public library. Going for a car ride with the windows down is another great way to cool off!
Stay cool, and enjoy your summer days ahead!