With New York in the midst of a blistering heat wave in, the Visiting Nurse Service of New York suggests certain safety measures to avoid the potential health risks of the summer heat. The nonprofit organization wants to help seniors and other at-risk populations avoid hypothermia, dehydration, heat exhaustion and other heat-related injuries.
Among the most important tips the organization suggests for avoiding heat-related injury is the simple but oft-forgotten importance of drinking fluids. Drinking water and consuming foods that contain water, such as fruits, vegetables, gelatin and ice pops are vital. Coffee and alcohol must be had with caution, because they will dehydrate your body rather than replenish it.
Taking frequent baths and showers will also help those at risk to avoid injury. Baths and showers help keep the body from overheating. For seniors, be sure the bathtub has a slip resistant mat or safety bars to prevent slips and falls.
Avoiding the peak hours of the sun’s impact is another important precaution to take. Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., the sun’s rays are at their most dangerous, so avoid going for walks, cooking outdoors and exposing your skin. Wear loose, light-colored clothing and a wide-brimmed hat during this time of the day. Keep a water receptacle close by if outside.
Visit cool places, where sufficient air-conditioning is available, when out of the house. Movie theaters, libraries and shopping centers generally have good air-conditioning.
Keep a phone nearby in case of emergency, and know where the closest police station, fire station pharmacy and hospitals are in case of emergencies.