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June 20, 2014

Summer Safety: 8 Helpful Reminders for Older Adults

The beginning of summer brings plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun. Between family beach trips, cookouts, and baseball games, your chances to soak up the sun are nearly endless. Yet, as fun as this all sounds, you still need to keep safety in mind.

Summer heat can be especially dangerous for older adults, so taking the proper precautions is a necessary step in your plan for summer fun.

9 Tips for Staying Safe in the Sun

  1. Know your risks: Awareness is the first step to making sure you’re prepared for heat safety. Your normal body response to heat can be affected by age, chronic illnesses, and some medications.
  2. Stay hydrated: Drinking the proper amount of fluid throughout a day of fun in the sun is the most important safety tip we can offer. The Mayo Clinic recommends 13 cups of liquid for men and 9 cups for women, but this number can increase if you’re exposed to heat or outdoor activity. Carry a water bottle with you and refill it frequently. Water is the undisputed best choice for hydrating yourself and you should do your best to avoid sugary or alcoholic drinks, which can actually make your body feel dehydrated.
  3. Take breaks: Even if it means missing out on some of the fun, ducking inside for an air-conditioned break can help your body cool itself down. This is especially important if you’re doing something active in the heat.
  4. Wear the proper attire: Check the weather forecast and make sure you wear clothes that will keep you cool and comfortable. Lightweight fabrics, UV protected sunglasses, and a wide brimmed hat are all good additions to your wardrobe.
  5. Avoid midday sun: The sun is hottest around the midday hours, usually defined as between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. While you might not always be able to avoid being outside during these hours, take extra precautions against sun exposure and heat.
  6. Use sunscreen: Wearing sunscreen and reapplying throughout the day is crucial to summer safety. Find a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and apply liberally. Watch the clock and make sure you’re reapplying as often as recommended.
  7. Seek shade: It’s amazing what a difference shade can make. If you’re going to be somewhere with minimal shady options, bring an umbrella or canopy to make yourself more comfortable. 
  8. Monitor your symptoms: You know your body best. Keep a close eye on how the heat is making you feel and don’t be afraid to ask for accommodations if you need them.

Don’t allow heat-related illness to spoil your summer. By taking the proper precautions, you can enjoy the sun without taking any unnecessary risks. 

How do you stay safe in the sun? Share your insight in the comments section below. 



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