We never feel more alive than when summer hits and we are able to enjoy the simple pleasures of life - a walk in the park, enjoying a cup of coffee on the patio watching the sunrise, watching our grandkids relish in their outdoor activities, and BBQ’s enjoying the company of our friends and family. We can get caught up in the excitement that we forget about the possible effects summer conditions induce if we aren’t prepared – hot sun, high temperatures, and unforgiving humidity. These effects can be dangerous to an aging adult. Therefore, we’ve prepared a few friendly summer safety tips to help keep you safe while you enjoy the pleasure summer brings.
When you know you are venturing out, take a moment and check the news for weather updates. The humidity is sneaky and can add 5-10 degrees to the actual measured temperature making outside conditions worse than perceived.
When making plans, educate yourself on the set-up: Is there shelter away from the hot sun? Will you be in the direct sunlight? How long does the event last? Is water available, if needed? These types of questions will help you plan for what you need to do before you venture out.
Don’t forget to dress for the occasion wearing loose, light weight clothing items, a sun protecting brimmed hat, and UV sun blocking sunglasses for eye protection.
You hear this all over the news, in research articles, and from your doctor “Don’t forget to wear sunscreen!” We hate to admit it, but they are all right. As we age, our skin becomes more delicate and vulnerable to the effects of sun exposure and our skin is more susceptible to burning because it’s not capable of withstanding prolonged sun exposure as it did when we were younger. Besides, a sunburn is extremely painful and affects our daily living activities. It also impacts heat dissipation from our body and increases our chances of a heat stroke.
The general rule is to drink 8 cups of water per day. Our bodies are made up of 60% water and it’s necessary for our body systems to function efficiently. If you are going to be out in hot summer conditions, it’d be smart to drink more than the recommended amount. If you keep a water bottle by you at all times- doing housework, outside, watching television – you are more apt to drink water than if you have to get out of your chair, grab a class of water, and then take a drink. Like anything, life gets in the way, and we tend to forget so having that reminder in our way keeps us focused on our daily water intake. Drinking enough water is one tip you don’t want to skim on because a lack of water can lead to dehydration requiring a hospital visit to rehydrate your body. And, don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink water. If you get the “thirsty feeling”, you are usually behind the eight ball, so don’t wait until you’re thirsty!
Know your Medications
Certain medications have side effects when coupled with sun exposure – it’s called photosensitivity. Check your pill bottles and look for a sun exposure label warning (see below for reference). If you see this warning, you have an increased sensitivity to sun and are at a higher risk for dehydration and sun burns. If you have questions about the medications you’re taking and their photosensitive qualities, we’ve added a link at the bottom for you to review. Your doctor is a great resource, too!
There’s too much excitement to miss out on by not using the common sense you’ve gained over the years. Incorporate these summer safety tips and you’re guaranteed to enjoy the simple pleasures of summer adding to your life experiences.
Find a list of sun-sensitive drugs here: http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/sun-sensitizing-drugs#2