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Beat the Heat: Summer Tips for Seniors

By Allen Riggs

(Page 2 of 2)

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.

Rehydration drink*

Measure all ingredients precisely. Small variations can make the drink less effective or even harmful. Mix the following:

  • 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 12.

Source: www.webmd.com

Potential symptoms

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 season.

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.

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