Official “summer” is just around the corner, but the warmer weather is already upon us. The risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion is real, especially for the elderly. Below are some tips to stay cool as well as a link to an updated list of local cooling centers. If you don’t have air conditioning, don’t hesitate to take advantage of these resources. And as always, check on elderly family, friends and neighbors.
Tips to Stay Cool
Slow down, avoid strenuous activity. Do not try to do too much on a hot day.
- Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect heat and sunlight and help maintain normal body temperature. Protect your face with a wide-brimmed hat.
- Drink plenty of water regularly and often, even if you do not feel thirsty. Attempt to stay hydrated.
- Limit intake of alcoholic beverages. They can actually dehydrate your body.
- Eat well-balanced, light, regular meals. Avoid high protein foods that increase metabolic heat.
- Stay indoors as much as possible.
- If you do not have air conditioning, stay on your lowest floor, out of the sun. Electric fans do not cool the air, but they do help evaporate perspiration, which cools your body.
- Go to a place where you can get relief from the heat, such as air conditioned schools, libraries, theaters and other community facilities that may offer refuge during the warmest times of the day.
- Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings or louvers. Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80%.
- Avoid too much sunshine. Sunburn slows the skin’s ability to cool itself. If you are outside, use sunscreen lotion with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating.
- Never leave children or pets alone in a closed vehicle.
- Do not leave pets outside for extended periods. Make sure that they have plenty of drinking water.
- Check on family, friends and neighbors.