As the summer heat and humidity settles in, staying hydrated is critical for seniors and the elderly to stay healthy and avoid illnesses related to the heat. Staying hydrated does a number of things, including regulating body temperature, protects vital organs, and promotes skin health.
Signs or symptoms of dehydration that leads to heat-related illnesses in elderly include:
- Tired or confused easily
- Sunken eyes
- Dry skin and mouth and cracked lips
- Frequent urine infections
- Dark urine in small quantities
Here’s how to stay hydrated in the summer’s heat and humid conditions:
- Keep cool inside with the air conditioning on at a reasonable level.
- Keep drinking cold water. You sweat more in the heat. Replacing the fluid you lose to sweat is critical to your health. Have a bottle of cold water handy and drink from it regularly.
- Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated drinks. It’s tempting to enjoy coffee as part of your daily routine, or an icy soda pop, or a cold beer on hot days. But these drinks act as diuretics, causing you to urinate more frequently and draining your body of vital liquids. Soda pop also has lots of sugar and extra calories that are unhealthy.
- Don’t go too hard! In the summer heat, it’s best to pace yourself. Exercise early in the morning or later in the evening in the cooler parts of the day. Watch how long you exercise also. Build up to it also if you’re just starting out because it’s easier to overdo it in hotter weather that stresses your body. Monitor yourself closely and back off if your body feels overly stressed.
- Try sports drinks. Especially for seniors and elderly if you’re working out, you need to replace the fluids if you’re exercising or working out. Sports drinks and water with electrolytes and nutrients help keep you hydrated.
- Natural flavors are good! Rather than the soda or sugary fruit drinks, try adding a lemon or strawberry to your water. Make your own fruit drink!
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