Combating the Heat
This summer people are sweltering under record temperatures around the world, including Canada. As we age, our bodies tend to lose the ability to self-regulate and increase our risk of heat-related issues. Health experts say seniors need to be extra cautious when temperatures top 30°C.
Below are a few tips to help you stay cool during a heatwave:
Make some adjustments to your diet
Many people tend to feel less hungry around this time of year for a number of reasons. Three small meals and three snacks each day should ensure all your required daily nutrients are consumed without feeling like you’ve over-eaten. Heart to Home Meals offers a variety of mini meals filled with carbs and protein, which are great sources of energy.
It is also recommended to eat more fruits and vegetables, particularly those that are water-based. Watermelons have a number of nutrients seniors require, like vitamins A, C and B6, they also contain potassium and antioxidants.
Keep yourself hydrated
It is recommended to drink at least eight glasses of water each day. If water on its own doesn’t appeal, try adding a slice of fruit. Recipes high in fluid also count towards your hydration levels. Heart to Home Meals offers a variety of soups to choose from.
Although consuming fluids is important, be sure to limit the amount of tea and coffee you consume as caffeine can cause headaches and insomnia in some people.
Create a cooling environment
The most preferred environment is an air-conditioned one. If there is no AC in your home, if possible, get yourself to an air-conditioned public area to reduce the amount of time you spend in the heat. As a rule of thumb, limit outdoor activities to the early morning hours before 10 a.m., or evening hours after 6 p.m. This may make it difficult to get to a cooler location but fans can provide some relief from the heat. They cannot, however, cool the body once temperatures reach 35 degrees. If the forecast suggests it is going to be very hot outside, closing your blinds or curtains with a fan running can cool an apartment significantly.
Placing ice or wet towels with cold water on your body’s pulse points, like the neck, wrists, and ankles, is worth considering but avoid putting the ice directly on your skin, wrap it in a cloth.
Wear loose-fitting clothing
Keep it simple, dress to be practical: light, loose-fitting and comfortable. Avoid dark colours as they are known to absorb heat. If you must go outside, be sure to wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and apply sunscreen with a minimum 30 SPF.
Although we may be in the final months of summer, mother nature has often surprised us with heat waves well into the season, and sometimes even on the cusp of fall. Keeping these tips handy will ensure you are prepared for whatever hot weather comes our way.