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Ready for a Warm Up?
As summer quickly approaches, heat safety is important. Even if you live in a cooler climate, the change in weather can negatively affect your body if you aren’t properly prepared for warmer temperatures. Last September during a period of high temperatures, 6 older adults in the San Francisco and San Mateo areas were reported to have died from heat-related illness, according to Bay Area NBC. Sadly, heat-related deaths are preventable. The last Friday of May is National Heat Awareness Day and the perfect time to discuss heat preparedness.
People age 65 or older are more prone to heat-related health problems, says the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A few reasons older adults may be more prone to heat-related health problems:
- Older adults may have poorer circulation
- Older adults are more prone to chronic medical conditions that change normal body responses to heat
- Older adults are more likely to use medications that can affect the body’s natural ability to sweat and regulate temperature
Staying cool and hydrated is vital during warm weather. If possible, stay indoors with the AC running. If you don’t have access to air conditioning your local health department can guide you to the nearest cooling station. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink. Keep a water bottle filled and close by as a visual reminder to drink more water. Avoid caffeinated and sugary drinks that can increase the risk of dehydration. Dress appropriately for warm weather. A man name James came down with heat exhaustion from standing on an airport ramp dressed in clothes that were too warm for the high temperature, according to the National Weather Service. Loose and light colored clothing will keep you cooler. If you are uncertain of the weather, light layered clothing that is also a safe option. Rest when you need it. Find shade when outdoors and use sunscreen. Stay connected: check in on friends and ask others to check in on you regularly.
Often, we simply don’t pay attention to our body’s cues and we don’t immediately recognize that the heat is starting to bother us until it becomes a medical emergency. The National Weather Service website features several personal stories of adults who developed heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Each story is different but all recall that they weren’t drinking enough water, they weren’t prepared for the heat, or they ignored initial symptoms of fatigue, dizziness, headache, thirst, etc. Regardless of how hot the temperature is, if you experience these symptoms you need to get help right away. For more information on heat safety, go to weather.gov and cdc.gov.
DISCLAIMER: This article contains information that is intended to help the readers be better informed regarding exercise and health care. It is presented as general advice on health care. Always consult your doctor for your individual needs. Before beginning any new exercise program it is recommended that you seek medical advice from your personal physician. This article is not intended to be a substitute for the medical advice of a licensed physician. The reader should consult with their doctor in any matters relating to his/her health.