Aging Successfully: Ways for seniors to overcome hot summer temperatures

  • Wednesday, July 28, 2021 1:30am
  • Opinion
Crystal Linn

Are you a senior citizen who is having challenges coping with this extra hot summer weather? Do you have a loved one who is not coping in this heat?

The risks of becoming overheated are obvious, heat stroke and dehydration. There are other, lesser known, risks such as sinus infections, urinary tract infections and increased inflammation.

Excessive heat stroke can even cause brain damage.

Stay hydrated

The most obvious way to stay hydrated is to drink water. I would like to recommend drinking distilled or filtered water. Tap water contains minerals and other chemicals which can dehydrate the body.

Sad to say, many of our daily habits actually increase dehydration. Caffeine (as in iced coffees and sodas), refined sugars, and alcohol are among the worst offenders.

Limit your fat consumption as one of the functions of fatty foods is to increase body temperature. Instead of a large dish of ice cream try sorbets and plant-based ice creams.

Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat, specifically green salads. These foods are loaded with crucial nutrients, to replace what we lose through perspiration, and they are the most hydrating foods on the planet.

Electrolytes play a vital role in maintaining homeostasis within the body and it is important to replace what we lose through perspiration, and to keep them in balance.

Consider drinking healthy, hydrating beverages such as lemon water and coconut water. Some herbal teas, such as chamomile, are hydrating and can be consumed hot or cold.

In addition to keeping our bodies hydrated it is important to keep our skin hydrated. Here are a few suggestions:

For any lotions and creams, use ones which contain minimal ingredients as added ingredients can contribute to dehydration. Aloe vera, coconut oil and cocoa butter are good choices. Use nose spray and eye drops as needed, again finding products with minimal ingredients.

Fill a spray bottle with distilled or filtered water and mist your body throughout the day.

Place an ice pack behind your neck, on your lower back or behind your knees as these positions cool the most number of blood vessels. There are some quality hand-held fans available for good prices.

Reduce inflammation

Heat and humidity cause the fluid levels surrounding our joint to shift causing an increase in inflammation This in turn can cause severe pain. Fortunately, there are several ways to deal with this issue.

In addition to keeping hydrated, treat the inflamed area like a strained muscle by elevating the inflamed joint and placing ice packs on it.

Iced green tea, lemon water and sugar-free ginger ale are among the cool beverages which can help reduce inflammation – any time of the year. There are healthy foods and herbs which help in inflammation reduction such as turmeric, ginger and berries.

Getting quality sleep is critical as the body repairs itself during the deep, non-dreaming cycles.

Manage your environment

Do not hesitate to run your air conditioner, fans or evaporative cooler, known as a swamp pump. If you live in a dry area and do not own an evaporative cooler, place a bowl of water in front of your air conditioner or fan. Remember, a high electric bill is less expensive than a hospital bill.

Keeping your drapes closed or purchasing light-blocking curtains helps to keep the interior cooler.

Plan all appointments and errands for the morning hours, when the sun is not as hot.

Wear clothing made from natural fibers such as cotton or rayon. Synthetic fabrics are made from plastics which trap the heat, increasing body temperature.

Do you have additional suggestions for keeping cool? Email us at information@crystallinn.com. I personally reply to every email.

Crystal Linn is a multi-published author and an award-winning poet. When not writing, or teaching workshops, Crystal enjoys reading a good mystery, hiking, and sailing with friends and family. See crystallinn.com.

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