July is often referred to as “the dog days of summer” in many towns and cities across the state of Michigan. When the mercury soars, seniors can be at greater risk for developing a heat related illness. In some cases, those conditions can be life-threatening. If you are planning an outdoor event this summer or if the aging loved one you help provide care for enjoys the outdoors, you should be proactive in keeping them safe. Here are a few tips we think can help.
Summer Sun Safety Tips for Seniors
- Layer on the sunscreen. Two common mistakes people make are putting too little sunscreen on before heading outdoors and then failing to reapply it throughout the day. This is even more important as we age and our skin becomes more fragile. Keep your senior loved ones stocked up with sunscreen and remind them to use it. A rule of thumb dermatologists share is that you should apply the equivalent of one shot glass full of sunscreen every two hours.
- Review your loved ones medication list. Some of the medicines commonly prescribed for seniors make them more sensitive to the sun. This Sun Sensitive Medications list from WebMD can help you determine if one of your aging loved one’s are a potential problem. Being aware of their risk can help them prevent a variety of illnesses including sun poisoning and heat stroke.
- Encourage hydration. Make sure your senior loved one knows to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water each day during the summer heat. Some foods can also help improve hydration. They include melons, cucumber, and leafy greens.
- Knowing the warning signs of heat related illnesses. Early intervention is critical to getting help when someone experiences heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Remember that heat related illnesses may occur quicker in older adults than they do in younger people. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a tip sheet that can help you learn the warning signs in seniors.
We hope these help you and your aging loved one stay safe in the summer sun this year!