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Posted: by & filed under Health

For most of us a warm summer is very welcome. Long sunny days are inclined to lift the spirits, particularly after the long rainy winter of 2013/14. But when the temperatures start to rise well above twenty degrees (Celsius), it is important to make sure you take care not to get too hot, particularly when you are older. 

Retired Couple Standing on Hot Shale Beach
Stay cool this summer

Keeping hydrated

Dehydration can be a major problem in the heat. You may not realise how much more fluid you are losing on a hot day, but failing to replace that fluid can lead to illness and even heatstroke. Avoid dehydration by drinking around eight glasses of water per day. Other cool soft drinks such as juices can also help with hydration and preventing the body temperature from rising too high.

Sun protection

Even older skin needs good protection from the sun. If you are less active than you used to be, you may find you are sitting in one position for longer, which makes it even more important to ensure that any exposed areas are well protected with sun cream. Use a cream with a high sun protection factor of at least 30 and preferably 50. Wearing a hat or cap can also help protect your face and neck from the sun. Always stay out of the sun in the hottest part of the day.

Staying cool indoors

Close curtains or blinds at windows if the sun is shining in and overheating your room. If there's some wind you could open small windows to allow a breeze to cool you down, but if the air is still you will find it better to leave windows closed until the outside temperature has fallen. An electric fan can be helpful to provide a cooling breeze indoors.

If you feel warm, use a little cool water to splash on your face to reduce your temperature. Alternatively find a misting bottle, the type you can use to spray plants with, fill it with cool water and spray your face now and again for a refreshing effect.

Minimise exertion

Avoid getting even warmer by minimising the activity you do. Be sure to use a lift or stairlift where available and if you need to go out for errands try to avoid the hottest part of the day, between 11am and 3pm if possible. If friends or family offer to get shopping for you, accept their offers.

Seek help if you need it

If you start to feel any symptoms such as dizziness, breathlessness, confusion or chest pain you should seek medical help immediately. Be aware of any medication side effects which may require you to be particularly careful in hot weather. Some medications can affect your body's ability to regulate its temperature, so if you are taking these you and any carers will need to be extra vigilant.

Sunny days can be a delight and taking some sensible precautions can help you to enjoy the summer without adverse effects.

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