We should all be taking appropriate steps to stay safe during the summer – this includes wearing sunblock and keeping hydrated. However, Vancouver physician Dr. Ali Ghahary notes that seniors should always take extra precautions and be aware of the risks that can occur as a result of aging.
Hot weather can be dangerous to the average person, but to seniors heat can be a very serious threat. As you age, your ability to notice temperature changes in the body decreases. Underlying health conditions and certain medications can also make seniors unable to adapt well to temperature changes.
In order to stay healthy this summer, Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends seniors avoid being overexposed to the sun in addition to avoiding strenuous activity – especially during peak hours of extreme heat, which is usually between 10 AM and 6 PM. If you have to run errands, try doing them outside of those hours, that way the temperature is a bit cooler and will have less of an impact on your health and body. During heat waves, try finding environments that are air-conditioned such as malls, movie theatres or libraries.
When outdoors, make sure you are wearing light, loose-fitting clothing as well as a wide-brimmed hat. This protects the skin and scalp against sunburn, which can lead to skin cancer.
It’s also important for seniors to stay hydrated. As mentioned in a previous article written by Dr. Ghahary, lack of H2O can lead to serious health problems, especially in elderly patients. Instead of drinking caffeinated beverages or alcohol (both of which can contribute to dehydration), drink water or unsweetened fruit juice.