Jul 31, 2017 by Marlin Duncan
It is summer in Hazleton, PA summer and older adults are likely to spend more time outdoors enjoying the sunshine, blue skies and fresh air. While this is healthy for seniors it can also be dangerous if they aren’t taking precautions to protect themselves from the harmful ultraviolet or UV rays. Since July is UV awareness month, we’ve compiled various health care agency tips to help seniors stay safe in the sun all summer long.
Lightweight, loose-fitting clothing is the best choice for older adults to wear during the summer. Natural fiber clothing made from cotton or linen will keep them cool and protect their skin from the UV rays. Clothing should be light colored in order to reflect the sun’s harmful rays. Wearing layers is also recommended to make sure that most of the skin is covered. Wearing a sun hat or a baseball cap with a wide brim is also a smart idea.
Although it’s tempting to spend hours in the sun, being outside during the hottest part of the day can be hazardous to older adults. Therefore, seniors should limit their time in the sun, especially during the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm when the UV rays are most intense. Our health care agency recommends that seniors should try to go outside in the early morning or early evening hours when there is more shade outside.
The importance of sunscreen should not be overlooked by senior citizens. By applying sunscreen on a daily basis, older adults can prevent painful burns, skin cancer, and a number of other serious conditions. In order for sunscreen to be effective, it needs to be reapplied every 2 hours.
When shopping for a sunscreen, older adults should look for one that is labeled as “broad spectrum protection” and in the range of 30 to 50 SPF. Additionally, it’s a good idea to opt for a sunscreen that is designed for sensitive or aging skin.
All too often, older adults get distracted and forget to drink water while they are spending time in the sun. Without enough water in their bodies, seniors risk becoming dehydrated and coping with serious problems such as fever, headaches, low blood pressure, dizziness, lightheadedness, dry mouth, and confusion.
To avoid dehydration, senior citizens should make it a priority to drink at least 8 glasses of water each day. Keeping a water bottle by their side or investing in a filtered water system may help them achieve this goal.
In addition to protecting their skin with sunscreen, seniors must remember to protect their eyes with a high quality pair of sunglasses. When searching for sunglasses, they should find a pair that boasts a 99 to 100% protection from UVA and UVB light. Speaking to their eye doctor prior to making a purchase is a smart move.
By avoiding the sun between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, applying and reapplying sunscreen, drinking at least 8 glasses of water each day, wearing a pair of sunglasses, and dressing appropriately, older adults can enjoy a sun-safe summer.
If you have a senior loved on in Hazleton, PA, or in the surrounding areas, that is struggling to live independently a professional health care agency can make it easier for your loved one to be independent. To learn more about Comfort Keepers in Hazleton, PA, contact us or call (570) 483-8913 to schedule a free in-home consultation.