Keeping your cool this summer!

In Uncategorized on July 15, 2010 at 6:47 pm

So, the official Home Care Assistance blog has had a few posts lately about staying healthy in the summer heat! And I know that’s a concern of mine, too… sometimes it’s just way too hot outside to bear!

Dr. Johnson had a great post – how to be safe, not sorry this summer – about a few risks, primarily dehydration.

It is very important for everyone, especially seniors, to take care of themselves during these months of sunshine and heat waves. According to doctor Alicia Arbaje of John Hopkins University, elderly people living at home need special attention from family members or caregivers. She says that the elderly often don’t realize when they are too hot, and the medications they take can often make them very dehydrated. She suggests staying in the home and out of the sun during times of extreme heat, avoiding a lot of activity, and staying hydrated with not only water, but also “sweat-replacement” drinks… If an individual notices problems while in the heat, do not hesitate to call a doctor. The summer is an exceptionally important time for seniors to have elder care, or to be watched closely by family and friends.

I wanted to look into the idea of “sweat-replacement” drinks like Gatorade, and just why they’re so important, so I found another good article here.

  1. Although the amounts lost in sweat are generally small in proportion to total body stores, prolonged heavy sweating can lead to significant mineral losses (particularly of sodium). An extreme example of such an impairment is ‘hyponatraemia’, when low plasma sodium levels can be literally life threatening.
  2. Drinks containing electrolyte minerals – particularly sodium – are known to promote thirst, thereby stimulating a greater voluntary intake of fluid.
  3. When the electrolyte minerals – again particularly sodium – are present in appropriate concentrations, the rate of fluid absorption from the small intestine into the rest of the body appears to be enhanced, especially in conjunction with small amounts of glucose. This is particularly important when rapid uptake of fluid is required, such as during strenuous exercise in the heat.

There you have it! Make sure that you stay well-hydrated in this heat if you are going to spend any time outside, and also make sure to wear sunscreen and skin-protective clothing! The risk of many cancers increases with age, so it is of the utmost importance to protect your body.

Enjoy the heat – but be healthy about it!



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