This summer has already shown itself to be a scorcher. So how do we keep cool in the summer here in Pittsburgh? There are lots of ways and it is important to pay attention to staying cool. Older adults are prone to heat exhaustion and overheating because their bodies don’t adapt in the same way younger people do. Prescription medications can affect body temperature regulation as well, as can medical conditions.
HYDRATE – drink water – not coffee, tea, soda, or alcohol. Water is your best bet. Don’t like water? Add a few drops of flavoring or “water enhancers” to make it more palatable.
Food makes a difference. Eat cooling snacks like popsicles, frozen grapes, or even ice cream. When planning meals, think towards lighter fare like chicken or salads vs meat.
Place a cool damp washcloth on the back of your neck. If you get a sunburn, try placing the washcloth in the freezer for a couple of minutes then place it on the sunburn. The cold washcloth draws out the heat from the burn and provides relief (then add aloe for healing!).
In hot weather, it is best to stay indoors and avoid activities that can exhaust you. It is best to keep the house as cool as possible. Keep the shades down, especially at the warmest times of day. Stay on the lower levels of a home since heat tends to rise. Using a fan will provide relief, especially in conjunction with the cool washcloths.
Take a cool shower, bath, or washcloth wipe-down. The temperature (close to room temperature) will help bring your body temperature down and cool air on damp skin is refreshing.
If your home is still too warm for comfort, visit a local library or shopping mall. During heat waves, cooling centers are often opened – watch your local news to determine if there is one close to you.
Stay safe out there!