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Beat the Heat: Summer Tips for Seniors
4. Drink plenty of replenishing fluids
Alcoholic beverages and caffeine should be avoided since
they can cause dehydration. Water is a great
option, but does not effectively replace the potassium
and sodium (electrolytes) that we lose when perspiring.
Popular “sports drinks” such as Gatorade, Powerade
and/or inexpensive homemade substitutes (see recipe
below) are great choices for rehydrating the body.
Measure all ingredients precisely. Small variations can
make the drink less effective or even harmful. Mix the
1 quart (950 ml) water
½ teaspoon (2.5 g) baking soda
½ teaspoon (2.5 g) table salt
3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60 g) sugar
If available, ¼ teaspoon (1.25 g) salt substitute
(such as “Lite Salt”)
* Do not give this homemade drink to children under age
Always be on guard for symptoms of heat exhaustion,
which include pale, cold or clammy skin, extreme thirst,
light-headedness, fainting, mild nausea, vomiting, and
excessive sweating. Signs of heat stroke
include hot, dry skin, a fast, strong pulse, confusion,
and a body temperature of 104 degrees or higher.
If a person exhibits signs of heat stroke, this is a
serious medical emergency and 911 or your local
emergency medical team should be contacted.
The good news is heat-related illnesses and injuries are
preventable. If you understand the signs and watch out
for the symptoms, you too can beat the heat this summer
Allen Riggs is a Director of First Light Home Care,
which provides quality, affordable, non-medical in-home
care for seniors, mothers just home from the hospital,
those recovering from surgery and other clients with
need for companionship and / or personal care. Allen was
an invited delegate to the White House Conference on
Aging in 2005.