Six summer safety tips: Why sun protection is important for all ages
Summertime is hot, especially for the thousands of Holiday Retirement residents living in the southernmost states. Summer is also a time for enjoying the great outdoors by spending time gardening, walking, swimming, enjoying a sunset, and much more.
Unfortunately, the summer sunshine, heat, and UV rays can bring dangers for seniors, like sunburn, dehydration, and heat exhaustion. With these six summer safety tips, seniors can enjoy the warmer months and minimize risk.
1. Be an early bird or a night owl
The sun is the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you plan to be outside during a heat wave, limit your outdoor activities to the early morning or to the evening when temperatures are lower and the sun isn’t as strong. It’s important to wear sun protection even when the sun isn’t at its strongest, as you are still at risk for sunburn even when it is cloudy.
2. Wear sunscreen
When shopping for sunblock, look for one that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more. Make sure to apply the sunscreen approximately 15-30 minutes before exposure and multiple times throughout the day.
3. Pick the right outfit
It’s not necessarily important for your health to match your boat shoes to your shirt, but it is important to think about sun protection. Sun protective clothing will help block UVA and UVB rays; think light-weight, loose clothing that will allow your skin to breathe, but will also keep the sun off your neck, arms, and chest. Sun protection hats have become a fashion statement, while keeping the sun out of your eyes and off your face.
4. Review your medications
Many seniors are on daily medications. Some of these may cause side effects, like increased sensitivity to sunlight and UV rays. A great summer safety tip is to review your medications and consult your doctor or pharmacist before spending an extended time outdoors.
5. Check on friends and family
Use the rising temperatures as a chance to check in on friends, family, neighbors, and your senior loved ones. Plan outings, like going out to lunch or seeing the latest movie, to give you the opportunity to catch up and enjoy some air conditioning. For those living without air conditioning, heat stroke can be a major risk. Some signs to look for include disorientation, confusion, excessive tiredness, nausea, and a fast pulse. If you recognize these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.
6. Drink plenty of fluids
We all know we should be drinking approximately eight glasses of water per day. That number should increase when spending time outdoors during the summer. Remember, by the time you’re thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. For seniors, the feeling of thirst decreases as you age, so be sure to increase your water intake if you are doing any sort of physical activity outdoors.
Interested in maximizing on the benefits for living in a retirement community? Learn more about one of Holiday Retirement’s independent senior living communities near you or a loved one today.