A Safe Summer: Five Summer Safety Precautions for Seniors

Five Summer Safety Precautions for Seniors

Image courtesy of care.com

The summer is a great time to have fun. Frigid winter winds have given way to warm breezes and the sun is always up in the skies to lighten up the day. BBQ’s, pool parties and afternoon naps on the hammock make for amazing outdoor activities. Unfortunately, the summer is not without dangers–seasonal hazards such as heat, sunshine and UV rays could cause sunburn, eye injury, heat stroke, dehydration and more.

Five summer safety precautions

Seasonal hazards are very preventable; there is no need to cancel your summer plans and let the beautiful weather go to waste. Below are five summer safety precautionary steps that seniors could take to minimize summer hazards and enjoy summer to the fullest!

Wear sunscreen:

The sun is brutal during the summer. To prevent sunburns, use a sunscreen! Look for a sunscreen that provides both UVA and UVB protection, and a SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or more. Apply the sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure. When participating in water activities, make sure to reapply the sunscreen frequently (usually in intervals of an hour and a half). To treat sunburns, apply soothing lotions such as aloe vera gel. Moisturize the skin after cooling baths and increase your water intake for the next few days to avoid dehydration. Mayo Clinic also recommends Acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol), Aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. Ibuprofen) if the sunburn is painful.

Drink lots of water:

The elderly are prone to dehydration. For one, body water content decreases as people get older. For another, the ability to experience thirst also deteriorates. To make matters worse, people tend to lose water faster during the summer due to increased perspiration. To prevent dehydration, drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water every day and increase this intake according to physical activity levels. Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated drinks because they would only exacerbate dehydration.

Wear four “L’s” and accessorize:

Try to wear clothes with the four “L’s”–loose, lightweight, long-sleeved and light-colored. This is to protect your delicate skin from the harsh summer sun. Whenever outside, wear sunglasses for eye protection and a hat to fend the sun off your face and neck. Remember, UV eye damage is cumulative, so choose sunglasses that provide both UVA and UVB protection. If you are into water activities, consider polarized lenses that filter out reflected light. Be aware, however, that polarized lenses could make it difficult to read cell phones and GPS devices.

Avoid the hottest hours:

The sun is the hottest and most intense from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (some extend this period to 4 p.m.). Try not to go out during this block of time to avoid the heat wave and to minimize sun exposure. If possible, do outdoor activities in the early mornings or late evenings.

Talk to family and friends:

The summer is a great time to hang out with family and friends! Socializing is a fun and engaging way to share community information, health advice and know-how’s. If you do not have air-conditioning or good ventilation at home, consider having your meetup at a communal place with air-conditioning to combat the heat wave. If the meetup takes place outside, look for a space that is shady and cool.

The summer is a lovely time to spend alone, or with family and friends — do not let a few seasonal hazards deter you from having fun! Heed the above advice and the summer would be a safer time for everyone.

Safety Education Alliance