5 Ways for Activities to beat the heat!

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5 Ways for Activities to beat the heat!

Posted on August 8, 2012

With the summer and its nice weather also comes heat and its risks. Blue skies and sunshine are true invitations to spend time outside, but we do need to pay attention to heat related problems. Here are a few tips on how to deal with heat and still enjoy the summer to the maximum:

The National Institute on Aging issued a special release to heighten awareness about seniors’ heat-related health risks. It focuses on hyperthermia and heat stroke – abnormally high body temperature that results when the body’s heat-regulating mechanisms can no longer deal with the heat coming from the environment. “Heat fatigue, heat syncope (dizziness after prolonged exposure to the heat), heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are commonly known forms of hyperthermia,” says the NIH release. “Older people, particularly those with chronic medical conditions, should stay indoors on hot and humid days, especially when an air pollution alert is in effect.”
Seniors do not adapt as well to hot weather. This is partly due to a reduced “thirst reflex.” This phenomenon prevents seniors from drinking enough water to maintain a healthy core temperature.

When planning activities or time outside here are five things to bear in mind:

  1. Schedule outdoor activities in the morning or evening. These are times when the risks are lower and don’t forget to have plan B activities in case it’s too warm.
  2. Organize your logistics carefully. Residents should stay well hydrated which means you should have plenty of water with you or where you are going. Offer fluids, but avoid alcohol and caffeine. Water and fruit and vegetable juices are best.
  3. Plan your activity well ahead, especially if it includes transportation. Make sure no one is standing in the heat too long waiting for a bus, for example
  4. After any exercise or long time in the heat, have people lie down and rest, if possible in a cool place.
  5. Pay closer attention and check on residents often. Headache, confusion, dizziness, or nausea when in a hot place or during hot weather could be a sign of a heat-related illness. Here are the signs of heat stroke:
  • A change in behavior — confusion, being grouchy, acting strangely, or staggering
  • Dry flushed skin and a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse
  • Not sweating, despite the heat, acting delirious, or being in a coma.
  • Fainting, possibly the first sign
  • Body temperature over 104° F

And don’t forget to wear sunscreen!!