A elderly man suffering from extreme Summer high temperature

12 Tips to Cope with Heatwaves

This summer’s scorching temperatures are making quite the headlines as more than 150 million people are under heat advisories in July. Some scientists say July will be the hottest month the planet has seen in over 120,000 years.  

Keeping cool has been a challenge this year, especially for older Americans. Seniors can be more sensitive to increased heat temperatures since their bodes don’t adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature and certain medications can affect temperature regulation. 

While the heat can be tricky to manage, there are some things you can do to cope and to even benefit from this year’s hot temps. Here are a few tips we gathered to get through a heatwave: 

Tips to Cope 

1. Keep Tabs on Medications 

 Some medications can increase the risk of heat-related sickness. Certain allergy, heart and blood pressure medications can prevent your body from regulating heat. Be sure you are checking your risk before heading outside! 

2. Know the Signs of Heat Stroke 

According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), the signs of heat stroke include: confusion, altered mental status, slurred speech, loss of consciousness (coma), hot, dry skin or profuse sweating and very high body temperature. They suggest calling 911 for medical attention if heat stoke signs occur. 

3. Cool Off and Stay Hydrated 

Keep water on hand whether you plan to drink it, dab it on your forehead or even soak your feet in a bucket of it. Don’t forget to give your outdoor plants a little extra drink too. 

4. Skip the Oven 

If you can avoid turning on the oven during a heatwave, you may avoid some unnecessary high temps inside. If you have little-to-no air conditioning available to you, opting for no-bake meals and treats may be the way to go. 

5. Pack a Portable Cooling Kit 

 If you do need to be outdoors for a prolonged amount of time, try putting together a quick cooling kit complete with extra water bottles, ice packs or ice cubes in a portable cooler to cool down. 

6. Limit Outdoor Time 

A little vitamin D is good, but too much time can be dangerous in times of advanced heat. Also, keep pets inside as much as possible with short potty breaks. 

7. Find Indoor Activities 

Walk the local mall or find a cool public community center. Catch up on a puzzle, write letters, play a game or read. 

8. Keep Blinds Closed 

 To save a little on cooling costs and to keep your space comfortable, keep blinds and curtains closed to block the sun. 

How to Make the Most of the Heatwave 

1. Capitalize with Solar Panels 

The sun is the number one requirement in solar panel energy. Why not consider harnessing it with solar panels? Some have saved tens of thousands of dollars by going solar. 

2. Hang-Dry Laundry 

Save on energy costs and get some housework done by hanging your laundry out to dry on a clothesline. The clothes will dry quickly in a heatwave. 

3. Catch up with Friends Indoors 

Gather some friends and your favorite ice cream treats to share to plan your very own ice cream social. 

4. Sun Tea Anyone? 

Use the power of the sun to make some outdoor sun tea. Watch the colors change from the comfort of your air-conditioned, indoor space and then enjoy a sweet sip of chilled iced tea in the afternoon. 

To find even more ways to cope with heatwaves, check out our article: 10 Tips to Stay Cool, Save Energy (and Money!) During the Summer Heat. 

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