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Ohio Department of Aging Boomerang: It all comes back to you!

Boomerang: It all comes back to you!

My Life - June 2013

Eight ways to keep your cool this summer
Little tricks can help you enjoy summer's sizzle

By Peter G. Tamburro, Boomerang staff writer

I just can't seem to take the heat like I used to." Very likely, there is truth in that statement. As we grow older, our bodies often cannot tolerate extreme temperatures like they once could. Physiological changes, chronic conditions and medication use all contribute to a higher risk for heat-related illnesses in older adults. This doesn't mean you have to become a prisoner in your own home when the mercury rises, though. There are several things that you can do to enjoy summer while you lower your risk when the heat is on:

  • Take it easy and play in the shade - The sun is most direct from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you are outdoors during these hours, spend more time in the shade than out, slow down and exert yourself less. On extremely hot days, plan to exercise and work outside in the early morning or late evening hours.
  • There are several things that you can do to enjoy summer while you lower your risk when the heat is on.Play peek-a-boo with the sun - From morning until early afternoon, keep the curtains and blinds shut over the windows on the east and south sides of your home. In the late afternoon to evening hours, open the drapes on the east side, but close the ones on the west. This will help prevent the sun from heating the air inside your home.
  • Become a fan of fans - Ceiling fans, floor fans and blowers keep air circulating, which makes it feel cooler. Combine fans with your air conditioner and you can turn the A/C up a few degrees and still feel comfortable, saving electricity and reducing humidity.
  • Go au naturel... sort of - Natural fibers such as cotton breathe better and are generally cooler than man-made fibers like polyester. Wear short-sleeved, light-colored and loose clothing. When you sweat a lot, change into dry clothing as often as possible, as wet clothing can trap heat near your body.
  • Get to love water... to drink - Staying hydrated is crucial to beat the heat. Steer clear of alcoholic, sugary or caffeinated beverages, coffees and teas, because they dehydrate you. Stick with good old H2O, and add natural hints of flavor like mint, orange, lemon or cucumber slices.
  • Get to love water... to wear - For instant relief from the heat, keep a spray bottle full of water in the refrigerator and mist your face and neck a few times when you are particularly hot. Wear a bandana soaked with water on your head. Fill water bottles and freeze them, then wrap them in thin towels and use as ice packs. When the ice thaws, you can drink the cool water.
  • Chill out with fruits and veggies - Vitamins are your body's natural weapons against the effects of heat. Eat well-balanced, light and regular meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Chill or freeze your favorite fruits and vegetables for cool treats; good examples are watermelon, pineapple, lemons, cantaloupe, honeydew, grapes and cucumbers.
  • Cool down at bedtime - We sleep better when we are cool. When you get up in the morning, remove the sheets from your bed and hang them in the coolest room of the house so that each side is exposed to the air. Put them back on just before bedtime. You also can put a small pillow in a plastic bag, put it in the freezer for an hour or two before going to bed, then pull it out when you make the bed for a cool place to lay your head.

Summers are to be enjoyed; these are fun and creative ways to make the most of the season and stay safe and cool in the process.

Image courtesy of Flickr.com user, moodboardphotography


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