Summer brings sunny days that beckon us outside to play and enjoy. It can also bring periods of high temperatures and high humidity, sending the heat index into dangerous territory. The danger increases with exercise or overexertion. Even a walk, a bike ride or gardening can be risky for some people when it’s too hot.
When pleasant, sunny days give way to hot and sticky ones, the body works hard to control its inner temperature. The heart beats faster, breathing is faster and sweat is produced to help keep the body cool. At times, these functions may not be enough and the body can become overheated.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are real concerns in the summer heat and may hit with little warning, especially in older adults. It’s important to stay alert and to head off any problems with preventive action.
Here’s what you can do to keep your cool.
Tip #1: Drink lots of water.
Many heat-related health problems begin with dehydration. Water is your best friend when the thermometer is maxing out. Sip it throughout the day, not just when you’re thirsty. For flavor, try iced herbal teas. Juice is okay, too, but you may want to consider the calories. It’s best to stay away from alcohol and caffeine, which can contribute to dehydration.
Tip #2: Dress for the weather.
Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing in breathable fabrics such as cotton. Wear sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat to help keep the sun at bay. Sunburn makes it difficult for the body to cool itself.
Tip #3: Go easy.
You may want to reduce your outdoor activity when it’s hot out. If you want to get some exercise, walk the mall, swim in an indoor pool or use a treadmill in an air-conditioned space, if you have access to one.
Tip #4: Escape the midday heat.
Temperatures are often highest during the midday hours. Try to schedule activities and do errands early or late in the day when it tends to cool down outside. If you don’t have air conditioning at home, you may want to spend midday hours in a public air-conditioned space such as a movie theatre or shopping mall.
Tip #5: Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Dizziness, nausea, headache, rapid heartbeat and trouble breathing may be signals that the body is overheated. Sip water and splash cold water on the body to help cool it down. Call 911 immediately if these methods don’t bring relief right away or if a person collapses or loses consciousness. The situation can quickly become critical, so don’t hesitate.
Enjoy all your summer days – even the very hot ones – and stay safe using the hot-weather tips in this article. And one more thing: certain health problems and medications may increase sensitivity to heat. You may want to check with your doctor about any additional steps you should take to help you stay safe this summer. Your annual Medicare Wellness Visit is a great time to discuss your health concerns and questions with your doctor.
For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.
Source: Medicare Made Clear | Tue, Jun 27, 2017