Now that we’re fast approaching the hottest part of summer, it’s even more important to take steps to guard against becoming overheated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a special report on seniors and the heat. It has suggestions that make sense — especially since we seniors are slower to sense changes in temperature. That means we can become overheated before we realize it. Here are some suggestions:
• Drink more water than usual, and don’t wait until you’re actually thirsty before having a drink. By then you’re actually overdue for water. Call your doctor’s nurse to ask how much water you should be drinking, and make a chart to be sure you get as much as you should.
• Don’t cook with the stove or oven. It makes the house hotter.
• Wear light-colored, lightweight, loose clothing.
• Cool down with cool showers or baths.
• Avoid alcohol or drinks with lots of sugar.
• Check the news for heat alerts. In some cases, cooling stations might be opened in your area, such as in schools. Or call the health department and ask if there are air-conditioned shelters near you. Libraries, movies and malls are good places to go during the heat of the day.
• Keep an eye on friends and family, and ask that they do the same for you.
• While fans are helpful at lower temperatures, they won’t help in extremely hot weather, and only blow the hot air around.
• Watch for heat-related symptoms, such as nausea or vomiting, headaches or muscle cramps. Look for heavy sweating, clammy skin, weakness or fainting, which is heat exhaustion. Those are medical emergencies.
For more information, go online to cdc.gov/extremeheat/seniors.html and cdc.gov/extremeheat/ warning.html
Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever possible. Send email to [email protected]