Summer is in full swing, and this year, we’re excited to be able to safely enjoy outdoor barbeques, days at the beach, and lots of time in the sun and heat. In Florida especially, the weather can get extremely hot and humid, and it’s essential to know basic safety tips about staying happy and healthy during these hot summer days.
According to the CDC, from 1999 to 2010, 36% of all heat-related hospitalizations were of adults aged 65 and older. Other studies show that being over 60 can increase your risk of heat-related illnesses by 82-92%. And while heat-related illnesses are undoubtedly the biggest hazard during summer, there are other threats to be aware of, as well.
With independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities throughout Florida and the United States, HarborChase Senior Living is sharing some essential summer safety tips so you can have a happy, healthy, and fun summer!
1. Drink Up
Staying hydrated is arguably one of the most vital safety tips for summer (and all year long). Due to several age-related changes, older adults are more prone to dehydration and are at an even higher risk during hot summer months. It’s crucial to drink water throughout the day—even if you don’t feel thirsty—and recognize the signs of dehydration, including headache, fatigue, and muscle cramps.
Tips to Stay Hydrated:
- Carry a water bottle with you anytime you leave the house. Doing this will ensure you always have access to water no matter where you go. You can even set an alarm on your cell phone or watch to remind yourself to drink at specific intervals.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine, which are both dehydrating.
- Make homemade smoothies or juices with fresh fruits and vegetables.
2. Dress the Part
While it may seem counterintuitive to wear long sleeves and long pants during summer, doing so can be more effective in preventing heatstroke and sunburn than some shorts and tank tops.
An appropriate summer wardrobe should consist of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing made with natural fabrics like linen and cotton. In addition, a well-vented, wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses will help protect your head and eyes from sun exposure.
3. Take the Heat Off
There are many fun outdoor activities to do during the summer, but they can often be ruined by the sweltering sun and midday heat, especially in Florida. Try to go outside when the sun isn’t as hot—typically before 10:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m.
If you’re looking for some safe indoor activities you can do during the day, here are some ideas!
- Visit a local museum or library
- Go to the movies
- Take a scenic drive
- Take a class at the local community center
- Work on an art project
- Organize your house
4. Bug Off
While the redness and itchiness of bug bites can be painful and annoying, they are typically harmless. However, in rare instances, mosquito bites can carry West Nile Virus or other viruses.
Because of this, another important summer safety tip is to always wear bug spray (preferably one containing DEET) and close your windows at night.
5. Buddy Up
There are countless fun activities to do in the summertime, from hiking and biking to swimming and water aerobics. Whatever activity or hobby you enjoy, always tell a friend or family member where you are going—or better yet, invite them to come with you. Some outdoor activities, especially those that involve water, can be unsafe to do on your own, so it’s important to always keep loved ones updated.
6. Know The Signs
Even if you take all the proper precautions, there is still a chance that the heat becomes too much and can be a danger to your health. In these cases, it’s best to recognize and understand the signs of heat stress so that you can get relief as soon as possible. When exhibiting signs of a heat-related illness, it’s vital to seek emergency medical attention immediately.
Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stress and Heatstroke Include:
- Flushed, red skin
- High body temperature of at least 100 degrees
- Confusion, agitation, irritability
- Nausea or vomiting
- Rapid breathing and heart rate
- Headache and muscle cramps
If you notice any of these symptoms on yourself or a friend, immediately move to a cool, dry place, place a wet cloth on your body, and take small sips of water.
Have a Cool Summer
In Florida and many Southern states, summer is known for its activities and events, but it’s also known for its hot, humid, and sometimes uncomfortable weather. For this reason, it’s essential to understand basic summer safety tips while enjoying time outside.
Even if you don’t live in Florida, knowing tips for summer safety and wellness can help you avoid heat-related illnesses and other health hazards.
HarborChase Senior Living has independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities throughout Florida and beyond. We encourage you to share these summer safety tips with family and friends and visit our blog for more information on senior health and wellness!
From all of us at HarborChase, we wish you a happy, safe, and fun summer!