Everybody Loves the Sunshine!

Happy black woman breathing and relaxing on the beach

by Kimberly Knight

Now that the weather has warmed up, and the frigid 14-degree days of January are behind us, let’s embrace the sunshine. This time of year, is a favorite for many of us, with bright sunshine and pleasant temperatures that aren’t yet scorching. It’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and discover activities that both you and your loved one can delight in. As caregivers, planning is essential, especially for our outdoor excursions. It’s important to remember that older adults can become overheated quickly, and even a gentle breeze may mask the true temperature. Given the notorious Texas heat, let’s prioritize Heat Safety as we venture outside.

Here are some essential tips for caregivers to stay safe and comfortable during hot weather:

1. Stay Hydrated: Drink at least eight glasses of water a day to stay hydrated. Use reminders, track your intake, or drink water before meals to ensure you meet your hydration needs. If you have restrictions on fluid intake, consult your doctor for guidance during extreme heat.

2. Check Medications: Some medications can increase sensitivity to the sun or heat. Check the side effects of your prescriptions, especially beta blockers, diuretics, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and vasoconstrictors. Be aware of how they may affect your body’s response to hot weather.

3. Stay Cool: When temperatures reach 90 degrees or higher, take steps to stay cool. Limit outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day and seek shade when possible. If you don’t have air conditioning, use fans or visit air-conditioned spaces like malls or senior centers to stay cool.

4. Protect Skin and Eyes: Use sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, especially as skin becomes more susceptible to damage with age. Choose sunscreen that offers protection against both UVA and UVB radiation. Wear sunglasses with UV protection and hats to shield your eyes and face from the sun.

5. Wear Light, Loose Clothing: Dress in light-colored, loose-fitting clothing made from breathable fabrics like cotton to stay cool and comfortable in hot weather.

6. Know the Forecast: Stay informed about upcoming weather conditions so you can prepare for any changes and make plans accordingly.

7. Have Emergency Contacts Handy: Keep a list of emergency contacts easily accessible in case of any heat-related emergencies.

8. Watch for Problem Signs: Be vigilant for signs of heat-related illness, such as headache, confusion, dizziness, or nausea. If you or your loved one experience any of these symptoms, seek shelter in an air-conditioned environment and contact a healthcare provider immediately.

As we prepare to embrace the warmer weather, remember these tips for a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience. Stay vigilant, stay safe, and bask in the sunshine

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