Coping with the heat
These past few days, as the temperatures outside have climbed, the Christmas song Baby It’s Cold Outside keeps popping into my head. Except I keep thinking: baby, it’s hot outside! After such a long, cold winter, it’s great to see the sun, but it’s also important to stay cool and keep protected in the heat. This is especially true for the elderly who are more prone to it’s threat.
There are several reasons older people are more susceptible to heat-related problems. One is that the elderly simply don’t adjust as well to high or sudden changes in temperature as younger people but other reasons can include things like underlying health conditions or medications.
It is important to stay cool when the heat hits to prevent dehydration, overheating, heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Public Health England (PHE) has more comprehensive advice on how to stay safe in a heatwave available throught the NHS here, but some of our top tips for beating the heat include the following.
1. Drink plenty of liquids
Because dehydration is often at the root of many heat-related health issues, plenty of water or juice should be drunk. Alcohol and caffeine should be avoided as they can actually contribute to dehydration.
2. Wear the right clothing
Wear layers of lightweight, loose-fitting clothing in light colours of cotton or linen. When outside, also wear a wide-brimmed hat or one that shades the face.
3. Stay inside during midday hours
Plan any outdoor activities in either the morning before 11am or late afternoon after 3pm to avoid the hottest parts of the day.
4. Take it easy
Avoid strenous activity or physical exertion.
5. Stay informed
The best was to avoid being caught off-guard be extreme temperatures is to check the local news or Met Office for the weather forecast and/or health and safety updates.
6. Know the heat-related warning signs
Dizziness, nausea, headache, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, fainting and breathing problems are all warning signs that help should be sought immediately.
We may live by the seaside with the chilly English Channel at our feet, but the sun and heat – especially in the city – can become a real problem. So take care, and stay cool!
All content in this blog is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional.