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How to Stay Safe in Summer as an Older Person.

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If you are without an Air Con as the weather heats up, here are a few handy tips for how to stay safe in Summer:

1. The Freezer is your Friend.

A great way to stay safe in summer is to utilise your fridge and freezer. Pop plenty of water bottles in the fridge and freezer in the summer months. You can then drink cold water which will instantly cool you down, or use the frozen drink bottle as an ice-pack that you can use on parts of your body that get hot.

Another idea is to stick your sheets in the fridge or freezer a few minutes before bed. It’s best to place them in a plastic bag first (unless you want them to smell like frozen meat). It won’t be a long-term solution but might give you the relief you need while you are trying to fall to sleep.

2. The reverse Hot Water Bottle.

While it keeps you warm during those frosty winters, it could also be the solution to stay safe in Summer as it heats up. Simply fill the bottle and stick it in the freezer to create an ice-pack that won’t leave a puddle behind.

Bed time can often be the time of the day where you feel the heat the most. Have the water bottle in the freezer during the day and then take it out just before you head to sleep.

3. Make a DIY Air Conditioner.

By placing a shallow frying pan or bowl full of ice in front of a fan. The breeze will pick up cold water from the ice’s surface as it melts and create a cool mist.

Fans are also a great solution to stay safe in summer if you don’t have an aircon. You can get affordable fans from a lot of retail stores. Try having one in the areas that you spend most of your time. For instance that might be your bedroom and the living room. Just be mindful of the cords as they can be a trip hazard.

4. Keep Hydrated.

It seems obvious, but make sure you stay hydrated, particularly in the hotter months of the year. One of the main ways to stay safe in summer is by ensuring you drink plenty of water and fluids and stay hydrated. Health advice is generally to drink between 6-8 glasses of water a day, so try and fit those in throughout the day to stay safe in summer.

During the night you will most likely get dehydrated, so drinking a glass of water before you go to sleep is a great idea, if you’re worried about needing the bathroom try and go before you head to sleep too! If you’re looking for more ways to stay hydrated, check out this blog post: https://letsgetcare.com.au/stay-hydrated-as-an-older-person/This should help you stay safe in summer.

5. Use your shower as a Swimming Pool.

A cold shower is a great way of cooling down pronto. Standing under a stream of cold water, will bring down your core body temperature and rinse off sweat so you will feel cool and clean.

6. You are what you eat.

To stay safe in summer, during the hotter days try and chow down on cooler meals that don’t involve generating heat around the house. If hot food is a must, try and use the BBQ rather than turning on the oven. Also stick to smaller, lighter dinners that are easier to metabolise. The larger the meal the more heat your body produces.

7. Cold Feet.

Did you know that your head and feet are the parts of the body that are most sensitive to heat? This is because there are lots of pulse points in the feet and ankles. A great way to cool down is by dunking your feet in cold water. This can be a great way to stay safe in summer, and it’s affordable.

8. Go for an Excursion.

A great way to stay safe in summer is to go to a cooler venue than your home that has air con. Try a trip to the library or shopping centre could be a good activity if you don’t have Air Con. Or even see if there’s a movie on you’d like to see. 3pm tends to be the hottest time in the day, so see if there’s an afternoon session on and chill out in the cool cinema.

Make sure if you are journeying out that you do this during the cooler part of the day, or that your form of transport has aircon and you drink plenty of fluids on your journey to stay safe in summer.

Be wary of these heat related illnesses to stay safe in summer.

Heat rash:

This is an itchy, painful rash commonly referred to as Prickly Heat. It is caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather, and particularly affects young children.

Symptoms: A cluster of red pimples or small blisters, particularly on the neck or upper chest, or in the creases in the groin, elbow and under the breasts.

What to do: Keep the affected areas dry (powder can help), and avoid using ointments or creams because they keep the skin warm and moist which can make the condition worse.

Dehydration:

This is very common in the heat and occurs when the body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. This is also one you can try and avoid by drinking plenty of water as this will help you stay safe in summer.

Symptoms: Dizziness, tiredness, irritability, thirst, dark yellow urine, loss of appetite, fainting.

What to do: Drink plenty of water or if you are sick of that, try diluted fruit juice. No tea and coffee or alcohol.  Move somewhere cool (preferably air-conditioned), and if possible use a spray bottle filled with water to cool you down. If you start to feel unwell call your doctor or nearest emergency department.

Heat cramps:

These usually affect people who sweat a lot during strenuous activity causing the body to lose salt and water.

Symptoms: Muscle pains or spasms. Heat cramps can also be an early symptom of heat exhaustion.

What to do: Stop all activity and lie in a cool place (preferably air-conditioned) with your legs raised slightly. Drink water or diluted fruit juice, have a cool shower or bath, massage your limbs to ease the spasms and apply cool packs. Do not go back to strenuous activity for a few hours after the cramps have subsided. If they continue for more than one hour seek medical attention.

Heat exhaustion:

This is the body’s reaction to losing excessive amounts of water and salt contained in sweat.

Symptoms: Heavy sweating, pale skin, fast and weak pulse rate, fast and shallow breathing, muscle weakness or cramps, tiredness and weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, fainting.

What to do: Move to a cool place (preferably air-conditioned) and lie down. Remove excess clothing, take small sips of cool fluids, and have a cool shower, bath or sponge bath. Put cool packs under the armpits, on the groin or on the back of the neck to reduce body heat. If symptoms last for longer than one hour, call your doctor, the nearest emergency department or triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

Heat stroke:

When the body temperature is not controlled and it rises above 40.5 °C. It is the most serious heat-related illness and is a life-threatening emergency. The best thing to do is immediately attempt to lower the body temperature.

Symptoms: A sudden rise in body temperature, red, hot dry skin (because sweating has stopped), dry swollen tongue, rapid pulse, rapid shallow breathing, intense thirst, headache, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, confusion, poor coordination or slurred speech, aggressive or bizarre behaviour, loss of consciousness, seizures or coma.

What to do: Call triple zero (000) immediately and ask for an ambulance. While you are waiting for help, move the person to a cool shaded area and keep them as still as possible. Give them small sips of water if they are conscious and able to drink. Bring their temperature down any way you can. Place cool packs under their armpits, on the groin or on the back of their neck to reduce body heat. Do not give aspirin or paracetamol because they won’t help and may be harmful. If they are unconscious, lay the person on their side (the recovery position) and check they can breathe properly.

 

We hope this has been helpful and has given you some tips to stay safe in summer! And please always remember that if you are concerned about your wellbeing or that of another to make sure you contact a medical professional for help. Make sure you stay safe in summer, and put your health first!

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