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Staying Cool In The Summer - Denver Style

Jul 31, 2018 by Comfort Keepers Denver

Record highs were reported in July across the nation and Denver was no exception. While Denver has it better than a lot of places we still get our share of sunshine.

Not quite the 300 sunny days everyone likes to boast about – but still enough that we need to practice a little sun safety.

While it’s great to get out and enjoy the sun during the summer, there’s a fine line between enjoyment and putting yourself at risk for sunburn and heat issues, especially for older adults.

Here are some tips for staying safe in this blazing heat:

Make an Active Effort to Stay Hydrated

Seniors are more susceptible to chronic dehydration as it is due to reduction in metabolism and lack of thirst signals from the brain.

Hot temperatures and little to no cloud cover make this risk even greater.

Be sure to push yourself to drink more water on these hotter days. You can number several water bottles to help you keep track of how much you’re drinking, or even download an app onto your phone to remind you to drink water and to track your hydration.

Additionally, avoid drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol, as these beverages can actually dehydrate you even more.

Hot Cars are Fatal

You may have heard the horror stories of mothers forgetting about their babies in hot cars or someone forgetting about their dog, and they’re all as horrid as they sound.

Cars are giant metal sun-collectors during the summer. They get stuffy and hot, and can kill anyone sitting inside with no ventilation in a matter of minutes.

If you are tending to grandchildren this summer or have pets, either leave them at home or take them inside the store with you when you go somewhere. Don’t put yourself at risk of forgetting.

Other Pet Tips

Speaking of pets, keep these tips in mind this summer:

  • DO NOT walk your dog during the day. The concrete, and even dirt roads, are far too hot for their paws and can burn them. If you insist on walking them during the day, purchase special dog boots to protect their feet. Otherwise, walk them early morning or later in the evening when it’s cooler.
  • Ensure they always have water available, whether inside of outside. Keep the outside water bowl in the shade if possible to prevent it from getting too hot.
  • Do not keep your pets outside if they have no form of shade! Even when they do have shade, do not leave them outdoors for extended periods of time, as they will get far too hot.

Avoid Peak Heat Hours

If you want to do activities outside or have yard work to do, avoid the hottest hours of the day. The sun tends to be the strongest and temperatures the highest between about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., sometimes shorter or longer depending on where you live.

If you’re going to be outside for a while doing something, try to do it early morning or later in the evening. Track weather in real time to ensure you’re avoiding the hottest hours.

Don’t Have Air Conditioning? Go Somewhere Else

Don’t sit inside cooped up all day with no air or ventilation! Go somewhere public that has air conditioning, such as the mall, movie theater, public library, coffee shop, and so forth. You don’t necessarily have to spend money every time you go, but seeking relief from the heat even for a little while can greatly ensure your safety.

If you know someone who does not have air conditioning, especially an older loved one, encourage them to do the same, or invite them over during the day if you have air conditioning.

Heat Emergencies and What to Do

There are two forms of heat emergencies to be concerned about. Here’s what they are, and how to treat them:

Heat Exhaustion

Overexposure to the sun or heat can lead to sunburn, of course, but also heat exhaustion. Symptoms of this are:

  • Skin that is cool, pale or flushed, and moist
  • Sweating is heavy
  • They are weak, dizzy, or fatigued along with nausea or headache

To treat this, remove the person from the heat to somewhere cool. Loosen their clothing or remove tight clothing altogether, and spray/cover them with cool water. Also give them small sips of something cool, such as water or a sports drink. Monitor their condition and if it gets worse, call 911.

Heat Stroke

This occurs when heat exhaustion is not adequately treated and it further develops. Symptoms here include:

  • Skin that is hot and red instead of pale and cool, and can be dry or moist
  • Little to no sweating, meaning their body stopped compensating for the heat
  • High body temperature
  • Vomiting
  • Altered mental status

For this, move them to a cool place and try to cool them down as quickly as possible, and call 911 immediately. Immersing them in a pool of cold water is a quick way to lower their body temperature, but do not do this if it is not safe to.

Utilizing these tips and knowing what to do in the case of a heat emergency can keep you and your loved ones safe this summer. Happy August!

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