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Beat the summer heat

Posted: 12/19/2017 12:50 AM by Just Better Care
Beat the summer heat Australia is well known for delivering scorching summers, yet we often dismiss the risks associated with extreme heat.
 
Older residents need to be extra cautious; as people age they may struggle to regulate temperature due to age-related physiological changes or medications.
 
The Department of Health reports that 94.4% of older people continue to carry out their regular activities during very hot weather.
 
Maintaining an active life is important for overall wellbeing, but during summer months there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure you are staying safe while you remain active.
 
Sun safety
If you are going to spend time outdoors, sun protection is essential. WA Health advises that some medications can increase the likelihood of sunburn and heat stress. Older skin can also be more sensitive to the sun.
 
Protect yourself by wearing a high SPF sunscreen, lightweight protective clothing and a hat. Wear protective sunglasses, and spend as much time in the shade as possible.
 
It is also important to note that if you use a mobility aid such as a wheelchair or walker, keep it in the shade as it can become very hot to the touch.
 
Cooling down with a swim
Swimming is a great way to keep cool during summer however, extra precautions need to be taken to ensure time spent in the water is time spent safely.
 
Always ensure you are swimming in the company of friends or family, especially in open water, and ask someone to check the water depth before entering. If you’re at the beach, swim between the flags, follow the lifeguards’ directions, and check any warnings for the day.
 
Hydration is key
Older people can have a reduced capability to sweat because of health problems or medications. Not properly registering the temperature can lead to dehydration.
 
Better Health Channel recommends adult women should consume about two litres of fluids per day, and adult men 2.6 to prevent dehydration. Keeping hydrated throughout the day wards off heatstroke and delirium, keeping your body happy and healthy on a hot day.
 
Staying cool at home
On summer days when the mercury soars above 30 degrees, it can be difficult to maintain a bearable temperature at home.
 
Air-conditioning your home is an effective way to keep yourself cool and comfortable. Call a friend or family member for assistance if you have any issues setting your machine to a cool temperature.
 
If you don’t have air-conditioning, make sure you spend time in the coolest part of your home, or spend some time in air-conditioned spaces such as shopping centres, community centres, movie theatres or art galleries.

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