How to stay cool in summer
By Hannah West
Most of us enjoy a hot summer’s day, but for some people who have health problems, if it becomes too hot it can cause health risks. It is important that you spot the signs if someone is struggling in the hot weather and what you should do to protect them from the heat.
There are many different symptoms people can experience in the heat. The most common ones are:
- Difficulty sleeping, drowsiness, faintness and changes in behaviour
- Increase body temperature
- Difficulty breathing and increased heart rate
- Dehydration, nausea or vomiting
- Worsening health problems, especially of the heart or respiratory system
Tips on how to keep body temperature down
If you see people experiencing any of these symptoms it is important to keep their body temperature down. The following tips show how you can keep their body temperature down to avoid situations that could endanger life:
Take regular cool showers or baths
You should advise the individual you’re caring for to take a lukewarm bath or shower if they’re able to or assist them if not. If they aren’t able to have a bath or shower, you can simply place a washcloth and a bowl of cold water next to their seat so they can dab themselves to cool down. You can also place a wet cloth around the back of the neck to help regulate their body temperature.
Wear light, loose cotton clothing
Wearing loose, light cotton clothing will help individuals feel cooler. If the person you are caring for wants to go outside make sure they walk in the shade, apply sunscreen regularly and wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep them protected from the sun.
It is important to stay hydrated during the hot weather. You should drink water or juice regularly but avoid alcohol and caffeine. If you are looking after an individual, you should monitor their daily fluid intake and always leave a drink so the service user can keep having fluids
Eat cold food
Eating foods with high water content will also help to keep you hydrated. Many healthy foods can contribute a large amount of water to your diet such as salads and fruit.
Who is at risk?
Certain factors increase an individual’s risk during a heatwave, these are:
- Older age: especially those over 75 years old and those living on their own
- Chronic and severe illness
- Inability to adapt behaviour to keep cool: having dementia, a disability and/or being bad bound
- Environmental factors and overexposure
If you need more advice on how to look after someone, you can get in touch with us now.