Botsford HealthSource Magazine
How to Beat the Heat
As you age, your body can’t handle heat as well as it once did. This can put you at risk for heat-related illnesses. “Certain health conditions and medications also can raise the threat,” says Sonnora Johnson-Reed, D.O., an internal medicine specialist at Botsford Hospital. “Heart disease, poor circulation and diuretics (water pills) are just a few contributing factors.”
Fortunately, you can enjoy a safe summer by taking a few precautions:
- Dress for the weather. Natural fabrics like cotton can be cooler than synthetic fibers. Light-colored clothes feel cooler than dark colors.
- Don’t try to exercise or do a lot when it’s hot.
- Drink plenty of liquids, such as water or fruit and vegetable juices. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty. “Avoid caffeine and alcohol. You’ll lose much of the fluid they offer,” advises Dr. Johnson-Reed.
- Heed weather reports. Your risk rises with the temperature or humidity, and when an air pollution alert is in effect.
- Try to avoid being outdoors between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Stay in an air-conditioned place, such as a mall, movie theater, library, senior center or friend’s house. Ask a friend or relative to take you if you don’t drive.
- Worried about running your air conditioner because of the cost? Reach out to your local area agency on aging or senior center for assistance. Ask if they know about programs to help you with cooling bills. If you don’t have AC, ask them about cooling stations in the area.
Heat-related illness may include headache, nausea, muscle spasms and fatigue. Dr. Johnson-Reed recommends, “If you’re suffering from one of these symptoms, contact your physician immediately. Call for emergency help if you have confusion; fainting; dry, flushed skin; or other signs of heatstroke.”
Botsford Medical Offices