Summer can be a fun and exciting time of the year filled with outdoor fun. It can be very rewarding to the body and mind as the sun provides important nutrients like Vitamin D and improves psychological well-being. Unfortunately, it can also be a dangerous time of the year, especially for older adults.
For senior citizens, keeping cool and hydrated is more than just a matter of comfort; it can be a matter of life and death. Dehydration, or the loss of water and salts from the body, is one of the most common forms of heat disease. Other forms of heat disease include heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Seniors are at greater risk because thirst sensation, sweat production and the ability to concentrate urine decline with age. “Dehydration gives general signals that do not become pronounced until the body is approaching the danger point,” she said. “Once a person exhibits symptoms such as thirst, dry mouth or decreased urine output, the person is already in the moderate stages of dehydration.” If you are mildly dehydrated, simply drinking enough liquid and eating food high in salt will replace fluids and electrolytes. This is the reason a number of precautions should be taken before participating in sunny outdoor fun this summer, included drinking plenty of fluids, even when you are not thirsty and asking your doctor how much time you should be spending in the sun each day.