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6 Tips for Avoiding Heat Stroke this Summer

Posted by Doreen Dann, RN, BSN, MHA, June 12, 2017

The weather has already warmed up considerably, and before long a scorching summer will arrive. Since we become more sensitive to heat as we grow older, even those who have always tolerated it well might find themselves experiencing problems. According to the University of Chicago Medical Center, 40 percent of all heat-related fatalities in the US occur among the over-65 population.

So how can you keep yourself safe, as the mercury rises? Follow these 6 tips.

Watch the weather report. Aside from the temperature, the heat index is a good indication of conditions outside. The heat index combines temperature and humidity to provide a more accurate report; more humidity reduces your ability to stay cool, while dry weather is a bit more comfortable

Time outings according to the weather. It’s usually hottest between 10 am and 6 pm, so try to stay inside toward the middle of the day.

Reduce strenuous exercise. If you normally go for a walk every day, adjust your timing according to the above tip, or try walking indoors. An air-conditioned shopping mall or indoor track might be a good choice. If you choose not to adjust your schedule or location, take it easy on extra-hot days.

Wear the right clothes. Choose lightweight fabrics in lighter colors, and wear a wide-brimmed hat.

Drink plenty of water. Once you feel thirsty, you’ve actually become mildly dehydrated. Prevent dehydration by sipping on water throughout the day. A refillable water bottle can help you monitor your intake. Avoid alcoholic beverages too, since they can be dehydrating.

Learn the signs of heat stroke. As with most health conditions, awareness of heat stroke could save your life. The signs of heat stroke include dizziness, headache, nausea, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, breathing problems and fainting.

If you experience any of the signs of heat stroke, seek medical attention immediately. Call 911 if necessary, or alert a friend or family member who can take you to the emergency room right away.

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