5 Reasons Why Seniors Need to be Vigilant During Summertime

June 20, 2017

After a long winter, the prospect of months full of sun is an exciting one. Whether it’s outdoor barbecues, a day at the beach, or just sitting in a park with a nice book, the summer offers a multitude of chances for plenty of fun in the sun. However, there are some reasons to be cautious. Here are 5 things to keep in mind over the summer, especially for seniors:

1. Dehydration: You can really work up a sweat in the summer heat, which means losing water that is critical to the proper functioning of the body. Be sure to drink water to replenish your body’s supply. You can also consume sports drinks and fruit which contain electrolytes, vital compounds that help to regulate water in the body. It’s usually fine to just drink when you feel parched, but seniors should exercise greater caution because their ability to sense thirst it is dulled. Additionally, the body reserves less water as you age. If you begin to feel fatigue or dizziness, be sure to get inside right away and drink some water.

2. Heatstroke: Heatstroke is when the body temperature rises to 104 degrees fahrenheit or higher. It can be caused by excessive heat exposure and dehydration. Confusion, slurred speech, nausea, and rapid breathing are all symptoms of heatstroke. Wearing extra clothing can put you at risk for a heatstroke. Make sure to wear light, breathable clothing that will allow your body to properly regulate its temperature. If you believe someone is suffering from heatstroke, bring them inside and cool them down while alerting emergency services. 

3. Melanoma: Melanoma is a type of skin cancer in which the cells that give the skin its pigmentation become cancerous. UV radiation exposure is a serious risk factor, which is why it is so important to protect yourself from the sun. Using sunscreen (don’t forget the ears!) and limiting sun exposure are great ways to protect yourself. Even if you don’t burn easily, you are not immune to melanoma. See a doctor if you notice any unusual moles as these may indicate the presence of skin cancer.

4. Eye Damage: While spreading sunscreen on your skin, you might not realize there’s another part of your body that needs protecting: your eyes. The eyes are very sensitive to UV light and prolonged exposure may result in pain and even lead to cataracts and other serious issues. Sunglasses are a great (and stylish) way to shield them. Be sure to pick up a pair that offers UVA and UVB protection while screening most of your vision.

5: Mosquito Bites: Mosquitoes are a seasonal pest that always seem to try to spoil your summer fun. Fortunately, their bites are typically harmless (though they can carry diseases like West Nile virus,) but as everyone knows, they are often itchy and painful. Scratching these bites too often can result in infection. Over the counter lotions can offer some relief, and more serious reactions can be curbed by taking an antihistamine. You can even try to preempt the issue by using mosquito repellent.

At Centers Health Care, we are committed to focusing on the details that will ensure the best quality of life for our residents. We have many great activities planned for this summer, and we will make sure to take all precautions necessary to keep our residents safe from the risks of the season. And, of course, we will make sure they have plenty of fun in the sun (and shade!)

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