SUMMER HEAT creates a wide variety of situations that can result in risks to health and safety. Risk avoidance can protect your health. For instance, alcohol, caffeinated beverages (sodas, coffee, tea), certain medications (blood pressure, heart, tranquilizers, anti-motion sickness), age (less body fat to store water, decreased efficiency of sweat glands, decreased sensitivities), disease (kidney, diabetes, heart, paralysis, Parkinson’s, obesity, fever, decreased mental capacity), and decreased airflow (no air conditioning, using a fan without open windows) can combine and cause serious illness when environmental temperatures soar. Air quality deteriorates, excess humidity causes mold and pollen overgrowth, as well as a decreased efficiency of the sweating process. Overheating, breathing, and allergies can become a real problem. There are things you can do to make these hot spells safer/more bearable:
1) Water, water, water. If you can’t drink it “straight”, try the flavored zero calorie varieties, but do drink it up. The human body renews itself best with plain water. Drink more of it in heat emergency periods– even if you’re not thirsty. Sugared, carbonated, and caffeinated beverages can actually worsen dehydration!
2) Malls, restaurants, senior centers, community and recreation centers, movies, libraries and museums, even some modes of public transportation customarily have air conditioning for you to access during the worst of the heat.
3) Light, loose-fitting clothing helps expose more skin to air flow and helps the body cool itself. Lightcolored clothing attracts less heat than dark colors. Use fewer layers and expose more skin to promote evaporation of normal sweat.
4) Schedule your day to be indoors at the height of the heat, move appointments and physical exertions to cooler periods of the day.
5) Avoid direct sun exposure. Use umbrellas, shades, and wide-brimmed hats.
6) Airflow! Use a fan in a well-ventilated area (it doesn’t help to simply blow hot air around a closed room), open windows on the shaded side of the house. Draw the curtains and blinds on the sunny side of the house, but do not obstruct airflow.
7) Central air conditioning at home is just great. To cut your costs of operation, install one of the new quiet running window models for night time operation or in the room in which you spend the most time. This will permit you to set back the central air operation at night and save energy costs.
8) “Kiddie pools”, even just dishpans of cool water are great for cooling off hot feet. Keep a clean, not used for any other fluid, spray bottle of water in the fridge, use it frequently to mist your face and neck. Damp cloths can be frozen in the freezer and laid across the back of the neck. Popsicles are an easy way to get more fluids on board. Fill an ice tray with your favorite juice. Take more frequent showers or tub baths – tepid water works best to cool you.
9) Switch to easy meal preparation that doesn’t involve cooking in the oven.
10) Lighten food intake slightly by avoiding full heavy meals. Increase fruits, salads, and soups to increase water intake.
11) Cut down on electric light usage.
12) Don’t use salt tablets unless they’re prescribed by a doctor.
13) Hot weather can kill animals, as well as humans – extra water, no strenuous exercise or tasks and avoid the hottest periods of the day for sun exposures.
14) No one should remain in an automobile with the windows up during summer months unless the air conditioning is running.
15) Think home safety: check for frayed fan and air conditioner cords before use; change or clean air conditioner filters regularly during periods of heavy use.
16) If you live alone, buddy up with others in your same situation or make certain to check in regularly with friends and family during emergency periods.
17) Check out resources in your area – local Area Agencies on Aging often have cooling and misting centers, local groups give out fans, there are friendly visitor programs that will help un-stick windows and find stored away looser clothing. There may even be energy assistance available for additional electricity costs.
If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Tampa, FL, call Griswold Home Care
and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (813) 343-2228