Summertime means lots of fun, but the intense summer sun, heat and humidity can present problems for young and old alike. There are steps you can take, however, to make sure your summer is fun and safe.
Take Care of Your Skin
While age is one factor, family history, genetics, and behavioral choices all play a role in how our skin ages. Of particular importance, however, is sun exposure, which causes most skin changes as we age. Foy White-Chu, M.D., a geriatrician at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center who specializes in wound care, offers the following tips for keeping your skin healthy during the summer:
- Avoid intense exposure to the sunlight by staying out of the sun when it's at its strongest (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
- Use sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15-higher is better-and apply it liberally and often, and after swimming (even with waterproof sunblock).
- Wear protective clothing, such as loose-fitting items with tightly woven fabric, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
Protect Yourself from the Heat
Brought on by extreme temperatures, heat stress (high body temperature) can cause life-threatening emergencies if not treated immediately. Older adults, especially those who are sick, frail and very old, are more vulnerable to extreme temperatures than younger people.
Robert Schreiber, M.D., Medical Director of Outpatient Primary Care Practice, Community-Based Programs, Innovation and Development at HSL, says the following tips can help keep you safe in the summer heat:
- If possible, stay in an air-conditioned environment, either at home or in a public place such as a shopping mall, movie theater, or library
- Use fans to draw cool air into your home at night and circulate indoor air during the day.
- Curtail extreme physical activity.
- Drink plenty of fluids-at least eight 8-ounce glasses of liquid throughout the day, excluding alcoholic and caffeinated beverages.