Hot Weather Safety Tips
Summer can be an enjoyable time, but prolonged exposure to excessive heat can be dangerous. Older adults with chronic medical conditions are at a higher risk of developing heat-related illnesses. Enjoy summer safely by following these tips.
Stay away from direct sun exposure as much as possible. Plan your outdoor activities either early in the morning or when the sun starts to set. If you must be in the sun during peak hours, wearing a hat can help protect you in many ways.
Spend as much time as possible in air-conditioned spaces. If you don’t have an air conditioner, go somewhere that has it…read a book at the Library, walk around at the indoor malls, go to the movie theater, visit family that has air conditioning, or meet friends at a senior center or restaurant.
The Federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps adults 65 and older who have limited income cover the cost of air conditioning and utility bills. To reach Pennsylvania’s LIHEAP for more information, call 1.877.395.8930, or for a different state, call 1.866.674.6327.
Stay hydrated by drinking lots of cold water, clear juices, and other liquids that don’t contain alcohol or caffeine. Alcohol and caffeine cause you to lose water in your body.
Whenever you can, try wearing loose, light-colored clothing. Dark clothing absorbs the heat. This is where a lightweight, broad-brimmed hat would do the trick! These simple changes will help you stay cool and avoid sunburn.
Speaking of Sunburn
Buy sunscreen lotion or spray with sun protection of SPF 15 or higher. Apply to all exposed skin before going outdoors when you will be in direct sunlight for more than a few minutes. You should reapply if you are out for more than two (2) hours.
Take showers, baths or sponge baths when you feel warm using tepid water (not too hot, not too cold). If that will take too long, just get a wet washcloth or towel with cool water and put on your wrists, ankles, armpits and neck.
It’s important to remember that the high temperatures can bring on dehydration, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion. These are all serious health problems that can lead to weakness, headache, dizziness and confusion. If you experience any of these, follow the steps above to relieve the symptoms, and call 911 if your symptoms do not improve or get worse.
Tip Sheet: Hot Weather Safety Tips for Older Adults