As the mercury continues to rise as we reach the middle of summer, it's important that older people take care of themselves and stay cool.
Along with young children and those with chronic health conditions, people over 65 are most at risk of heat stress when temperatures soar.
"Heat can significantly increase older people's risk of becoming unwell and impact the effectiveness of some medications," IRT at Home CEO, Gy Wallace said.
"It can be difficult to realise when we're becoming overheated so it's important to be aware of the warning signs, and don't ignore them once they start, as deterioration can be rapid."
Here are some tips for staying cool:
- Pay attention to weather reports and prevent the heat getting in: Temperatures above 37°C are particularly dangerous. Act early to prevent heat stress on days when the temperature is predicted to rise above 30°C by closing windows and blinds once the outside air is warmer than indoors.
- Avoid exposure: Stay out of the sun if possible. If not, wear a shirt, hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Sunburn will affect your body's ability to cope with the heat.
- Cool off: Take a cool shower or tepid bath if you're feeling hot and flustered, soak your feet in cold water, and keep a spray bottle full of water handy to regularly mist yourself.
- Dress comfortably: Lose, light-weight clothing helps your body stay cool. Light-coloured clothing reflects heat and sunlight.
- Drink water, lots of it: By the time you feel thirsty your body is already dehydrating, so keep drinking fluids even if you don't feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol.
- Seek air conditioning: If you don't have air conditioning at home, spend the day somewhere that does, like a library, cinema or shopping centre. If you do have an air conditioner at home, make sure it has been serviced. Fans will also help you stay cool, but only if they're blowing directly on you.
- Lay off the hot drinks and caffeine in particular: Try iced tea or an affogato instead
- Take note of the colour of your urine: brown or dark yellow urine suggests dehydration.
If you're suffering heat stress, call for help! Don't wait until it's too late. Symptoms of heat stress include extremely heavy sweating, headache and vomiting, confusion and swollen tongue.
For further assistance on staying healthy and independent in your own home, consider IRT at Home.
IRT at Home is all about getting help with day-to-day things, to allow you to live the life you want, while maintaining your independence and keeping control of your routine, home and lifestyle.
IRT at Home provides home care services throughout the ACT, New South Wales & Queensland.