Summer is here, and temperatures are rising fast. For many of us, summertime is spent outdoors vacationing, partaking in leisure activities, and relaxing with family and friends.

However, the combination of high humidity and excessive heat exposure can be dangerous to your health–especially for seniors who are at high risk for heat-related illnesses. Luckily, heat-related illnesses can be prevented by following these summer heat and safety tips for seniors:.

Staying Safe in the Summer Heat

Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking liquids is essential to staying healthy in any season, but especially during the summer when temperatures rise. Seniors should drink eight glasses of water per day and try to minimize their intake of dehydrating beverages, such as coffee and alcohol. While water is best for senior hydration, other good alternatives include iced tea and lemonade.

Avoid Direct Sun Exposure

Seniors should stay indoors as much as possible during excessive heat. When going outside, stay out of direct sunlight and seek shaded spots when relaxing outdoors. Use sunblock with an SPF of 30 or higher and wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. It’s best for seniors to avoid  the midday sun, instead engaging in outdoor activities in the early morning or evening after 6 p.m.. when it’s cooler.

Limit Outdoor Physical Activity

If you have to work outside, remember to take breaks, wear sunblock and a hat, and keep a water bottle near you to avoid dehydration.

Dress Appropriately for Hot Weather

In the summer heat, seniors should wear clothing that is lightweight and not form-fitting. Dress in light colors and wear hats that are loosely woven, are well ventilated and protect the entire face.

Keep Your Home Cool

The inside temperature of a senior’s home should not exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit for long periods of time. Close curtains or blinds to help keep your home cool. If you are not close to home, find a cooling site to avoid heat exhaustion and dehydration.

Know the Warning Signs of Heat Exhaustion & Dehydration

Watch out for these warning signs to make sure you’re not suffering from heat exhaustion or dehydration:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid pulse
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Fainting

If you or your senior loved one experiences these symptoms, quickly move into an air-conditioned environment, drink water, and remove extra layers of clothing. Seek medical attention if you feel these symptoms coming on. 

Follow these summer heat and senior safety tips and ensure your loved one stays cool in the hot weather by checking in throughout the day. Find other senior health tips from Bethesda to keep you and your loved ones safe all year.