Whether your favorite summer activity is tending to your garden, relaxing by the pool or on a beach, or having a picnic in the park or backyard with loved ones, it’s essential to always practice summer safety habits.
Our Brickmont Assisted Living team in Georgia understands the importance of safety during the summer months. Due to a higher risk of heat strokes, dehydration, and other heat-related ailments, we want to help older adults enjoy a fun and safe summer season.
There are many benefits of spending time outside, and we encourage you to connect with nature, so Brickmont Assisted Living is providing some summer safety tips!
1. Stay Hydrated
Summer safety tip number one is to stay hydrated. One of the most important aspects of healthy aging is maintaining continuous hydration. “Up to 60% of the human adult body is water,” making hydration vital no matter the time of year.
Water is a major component of most body parts and is essential for proper body function as well as regulating adequate body temperatures. This is especially important during the hot summer months when it’s more common to become overheated.
However, as we age, our ability to conserve water decreases along with our feeling of thirst. This can create additional problems if you don’t consume fluids regularly. Drinking water can help cool you down and prevent heat-related fatigue and ailments. Older adults being hospitalized for dehydration is not uncommon, especially during the summertime. Fortunately, staying hydrated can help reduce this risk.
In addition to drinking the recommended eight cups of water a day, you can use food to keep you hydrated. Consuming foods with a high water content can help you nourish your body and promote hydration without you having to drink endless amounts of water.
Examples of foods with a high water content include:
- Watermelon – 92% water
- Strawberries – 91% water
- Cantaloupe – 90% water
- Peaches – 89% water
- Oranges – 88% water
- Cucumber – 95% water
- Lettuce – 96% water
- Broths and soups – 92% water
- Cauliflower – 92% water
- Bell peppers – 92% water
- Tomatoes – 94% water
- Celery – 95% water
It can be easier to stay hydrated if you are close to home, such as gardening or having a gathering in the backyard. However, remember to pack plenty of extra water and bring it with you on all your summer adventures!
2. Find Shade and Avoid Direct Sunlight
While you may be focused on tending to your garden or enjoying an outdoor activity, do not forget to tend to yourself. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes.” Finding shade can be a crucial summer safety tip for maintaining your composure during your summer excursions.
The best way to beat the heat is to get out of it, especially if you are in direct sunlight for too long. Allowing yourself a few moments out of the sun’s intense rays can make a world of difference to maintaining a happy and safe day outdoors.
3. Apply and Reapply Sunscreen
While this summer safety tip may seem obvious, it is worth talking about. It is no fun to come back inside after a long day in the sun only to discover that your skin is hot, red, and painful to touch. Not only is this uncomfortable in the present, but sunburn can cause damage to your skin in the long run.
Many people believe that applying sunscreen is only necessary if you plan to be in the sun for an extended period of time, but it is also essential for short outings. A good rule of thumb is to wear sunscreen whenever you will be exposed to the sun, no matter the length of time. Find a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays with at least 30 SPF or higher. Additionally, look for a water or sweat-resistant formula that will protect you even if you are sweating or swimming.
Furthermore, it is common to apply sunscreen once at the beginning of the day and then forget about it, but it is recommended that you reapply at least every two hours.
4. Wear Protective Clothing
What you wear also has an impact on your summer safety. Obviously, you wouldn’t wear a bathing suit to ice skating, so why would you put on layers of clothes to go out in the heat? This may seem like common sense, but some people may be surprised to learn that even the colors they choose to wear can influence their temperature in the summer weather.
To help keep you cool, opt for lightweight, loose-fitting clothes that are light in color. These lighter colors help reflect the sunlight instead of absorbing the heat like black and darker colors do.
Additionally, wearing a protective, wide-brimmed hat can help protect your face and neck from the sun’s harmful UV rays, and sunglasses can protect your eyes and vision.
5. Avoid Peak Heat Hours
If possible, plan your outdoor activities, or the majority of them, either in the morning or evening hours. The United States Environmental Protection Agency states, “the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.” Because of this, it is best to avoid spending too much time outdoors exposed to the heat.
6. Be Aware of Heat Stroke
According to the CDC, “heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body can no longer control its temperature: the body’s temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down.”
Fortunately, there are warning signs of heat stroke, so if you or something you love is experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to seek medical attention immediately. Signs of heat stroke include:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Lack of sweating, despite the heat
- Muscle weakness or cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Confusion or disorientation
- Flushed, dry skin
- Very high body temperature
- Slurred speech
7. Know Your Limit & Enjoy Yourself
We want everyone to enjoy the great outdoors this summer! Taking the necessary precautions to protect yourself from the sun and heat while taking care of yourself will ensure this.
While it may seem like a nice day for a walk outside, overexertion can cause more harm than good. Listen to your body, and do not push yourself too hard.
At Brickmont Assisted Living, we invite you to do the things you love while living where you are loved. Our assisted living communities in Georgia offer a wide variety of activities and events for residents to enjoy, no matter their interests.
If you want to learn more about our communities and services, contact us and schedule a tour this summer!
Updated: August 2022