6 Ways Seniors Can Celebrate Summer Safely
Summer is a great time of year! Warm weather, beach trips and BBQs are just a few fun ways to spend time with your loved ones. But, it’s important to take care of yourself in the heat. Here are some ways to celebrate summer safely.
Tip 1: Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated in the summer heat is important because you lose a lot of water through sweating. Water becomes harder to keep in our bodies as we age, so tracking your intake is key. Keep a full water bottle with you while you’re out in the sun. Be sure to fill it up as needed to boost your hydration levels and keep you healthy.
If you’re not a big water drinker, try recipes for infused water for simple ways to add flavor! To make sure you can drink it on the go, buy a water bottle from your local dollar store. Or invite the grandkids over to make crafty, do-it-yourself (DIY) water bottles.
Tip 2: Protect Yourself from UV Rays
While having fun in the sun is beneficial for several reasons, like improving sleep and boosting your immune system, you have to make sure you protect your skin correctly.
Unfortunately, just one bad sunburn can increase your risk of skin cancer. Wearing SPF and using protective gear against the sun’s rays is important, even as an adult. It’s recommended to wear at least SPF 15, which protects your skin against 93% of the sun’s harmful UVB rays. However, you may need a higher SPF level depending on how sensitive your skin is.
Even on cloudy days, you need to wear sunscreen. Make sure that you’re applying sunscreen correctly and have UV protected sunglasses. UV rays can cause a variety of eye issues, including macular degeneration, which is a leading cause of vision loss for older Americans.
What can you do if you get a bad sunburn?
Okay, so you didn’t apply your sunscreen correctly or frequently enough, and now you look like a lobster. We’ve all been there. What can you do for pain relief and to help speed up the healing process?
- Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and help your body heal.
- Use after-sun lotion with Aloe Vera to soothe your sunburn.
- If you have no issues with Tylenol or Ibuprofen, take the recommended dose to help ease the pain caused by the sunburn.
- Apply cortisone cream to your sunburn to ease the pain and swelling.
- Check with your doctor to make sure the above methods are safe for you to try.
If your sunburn is severe, visit your doctor.
Tip 3: Avoid Bug Bites
With the warm weather often comes the pesky bugs. Although you may be exposed to these bugs all year round because of where you live, here are some ways to stay healthy and keep them at bay.
Use bug spray and repellent. There are a variety of mosquito and tick repellents available. However, products that contain deet, oil of lemon eucalyptus or picaridin are rated as top-performers by Consumer Reports. There are limitations for using certain repellents on children, so check in with your doctor before using any sprays on your grandkids. You might also consider planting some citronella plants in your garden, or adding one to your outdoor patio.
Be aware of your surroundings. Are you going hiking? Do you want to take your grandkids fishing? If you’re in areas that are popular with pests, you should take extra precautions. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends treating your clothing with permethrin to keep ticks away. Permethrin is an insecticide, and you can buy it as a spray from home improvement stores. It’s also recommended to visit the CDC Traveler’s Health Website to learn about any health-risks impacting the place where you’re living or traveling to.
Keep bugs outside. Along with using bug repellent, the CDC suggests using window and door screens to keep bugs from settling into your home. If you’re having issues keeping bugs out of your home, you can try sleeping under a mosquito bed net. Also, checking your clothes and body after being outside can help catch any hitch-hiking bugs that may cause issues later.
If you have any symptoms like a fever, headache or rash after being bitten, call your doctor.
Tip 4: Wear Comfortable, Lightweight Clothes
Wearing comfortable, breathable clothes can help keep body temperatures in check. Natural fabrics, like cotton, are good to wear in the heat because they’re lightweight.
Other clothing specifically designed for exercising may be a good choice for the summertime. The quick-drying synthetic material is perfect for keeping you comfortable.
Tip 5: Exercising in the Summer
When exercising in the summer, it’s important to be even more hydrated than usual. Listen to your body, and don’t push yourself too hard. If you show any signs of overheating, call your doctor right away.
Tips for exercising in the heat:
- Exercise in the early morning or later in the evening, when the sun isn’t at its strongest.
- Wear comfortable workout clothing and gear that protects you from UV rays.
- Keep track of time and don’t stay out for too long.
- Make sure a friend or loved one knows where you’re going and when to expect you to be back.
- Drink lots of water!
Know the symptoms of heat stroke:
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Lack of sweating despite the heat
- Red, hot and dry skin
- Muscle weakness or cramps
- Nausea, vomiting
If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately.Some common prescriptions that may cause side effects when you’re in the sun or heat include:
- Retin-A and Tazorac (acne and anti-aging treatments)
- Bactrim (antibiotic)
- Benadryl or Dramamine (allergy medications)
- Tricyclic antidepressants
Talk to your doctor about any side effects you should be aware of if you’re taking specific prescriptions that may be affected by heat and/or exercise.
Tip 6: Enjoy indoor activities
Sometimes it’s just too hot out, but you don’t want to stay inside. Here are a few ideas for you to take advantage of the summer and spend time with your grandkids without being uncomfortable outside.
Nature centers provide an escape to the beautiful scenery of a city, town or state. Usually both indoor and outdoor, these centers can provide a fun afternoon away from home and out of the heat.
Go to a museum
Exploring a museum is a great way to spend your day. Often times, they have senior discounts or special rates during week days.
Enjoying a movie can be a nice break from the heat. You can catch a matinee show for discounted tickets, and may even be able to get a senior discount on top of that! Check out your daily newspaper for show times, or look online for what movies are playing near you.
Planning picnics, going camping or making s’mores by a fire make one thing certain— summer is a great time of year! Hopefully these tips with help you celebrate and enjoy summer safely.