Summer Safety Tips for Older Adults

Two older adults smiling at each other. They both wear hats and stand outside. A bright blue sky with a couple clouds and a lush green tree are behind them.

Sure, being outside in the hot summer sun feels great, but it can also be dangerous if you don’t practice sun safety. Around 600 Americans die each year from heat-related problems. Heat-related illnesses include dehydration and heat stroke. Due to physical changes in older adulthood, older adults are at risk of developing heat-related illnesses. Extra precautions are necessary the next couple of months. Follow these summer safety tips.

Limit Sun Exposure

Limit sun exposure when you can and try to plan activities early in the morning or when the sun begins setting. The sun does the most damage during midday. Avoiding the hours when the sun is its hottest will provide less risk to you. If you are engaging in an outdoor activity, try to ensure there is a safe, air-conditioned space that you can go to for regular breaks in order to cool down.

Stay Hydrated!

Staying well hydrated is important all-year-round, but it’s especially important to pay attention to how much water you’re drinking during the hot summer months. The heat can make you sweat a lot, so replenish your body with water and other non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverages. Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages can dehydrate you.

Wear Sunscreen

You should be wearing sunscreen year-round, but we feel the harshest effects from the sun’s rays in the summer, when sunlight hits the Earth more directly. Protect yourself from the sun’s rays by regularly applying sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30 to protect against 97% of harmful UVB rays. No sunscreen can fully protect against UVB rays, which is why it’s also important to monitor how often you’re in the sun. Apply sunscreen regularly. Remember: it takes about 30 minutes to sink into your skin.

Choose your Outfit Carefully

What you wear can have an impact on how the heat affects you. Dark clothes absorb heat, while light colors can reflect the heat from the sun. Wear lightweight, loose clothes and accessorize with a wide brim hat and sunglasses. You have to protect your eyes, scalp, and ears too!

If you don’t have air conditioning in your home, go to a safe public place, like the library or the mall, where you can enjoy air-conditioned air. Bathe in cool water or take sponge baths if you are feeling overheated at home.

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