Keep Your Cool

by Matilda Charles


Everyone needs to take steps to stay safe in hot weather, but seniors

especially need to be careful. Our internal “temperature gauge” doesn’t

work the way it used to, and becoming overheated can sneak up on us, with

dehydration right on its heels.


Here are a few ways to stay cool in summer:

* If you have air conditioning, use it. Keep an eye on the heat index

(temperature plus humidity) on the weather news. The higher the humidity,

the less we’re able to sweat and let air evaporation cool us.


* Go somewhere cool in the middle of the day, such as the library or a

nearby coffee shop that has air conditioning. Find out from your senior

center if there are cooling centers in your area where you can go for a

few hours.


* Drink plenty of water. Some of our drugs can be dehydrating; ask your

doctor if your prescriptions mean you should drink more water. Ask him how

much liquid you should drink during hot weather, especially if your intake

is limited because of water retention. Remember that drinks with caffeine

(such as tea or coffee) can be dehydrating, as well as alcoholic beverages

or sugary drinks like sodas.


* Dress in lightweight clothing. Wear a hat if you go outside.


* Put a cool, damp washcloth on pulse points, like wrist and neck. Take a

cool shower.


* Sign up with a senior’s phone service that will check on you, or arrange

with friends and family to stay in close contact during hot weather.


* Keep an eye on the symptoms of heat exhaustion: clammy skin, fainting,

nausea, muscle cramps and weakness. Call for help if you experience any of

these, because they can lead to heat stroke if not taken care of.


Matilda Charles regrets that she cannot personally answer reader

questions, but will incorporate them into her column whenever possible.


Send email to

(c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.

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