While the worst of the Houston heat may be past us, the sun shines strongly on our fair city for much of the year. This exposure to the sun can be particularly harmful for older adults and seniors, as it can interfere with some medications and exacerbate conditions that are common in people of a certain age. Talk to your primary care doctor about sun safety tips, and be conscious of following his or her recommendations:
During the summer, the sun’s rays shine more directly, which means they can do more damage in less time. Even on cloudy days, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen that will block UVA and UVB rays, and make sure that it is rated SPF 15 or higher. Apply it about 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. Don’t forget to include protective accessories, including a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses, to protect vulnerable areas like your nose, the back of your neck, and your eyes from solar radiation.
Avoid High Temperatures
Limit your activities to times when temperatures are cooler, such as in the early morning or during dusk. Midday might be sunny and inviting, but it is also significantly warmer and the heat can lead to debilitating and even deadly conditions such as exhaustion, heatstroke, or dehydration. In addition, familiarize yourself with your medications and their side effects; some medications, such as certain diuretics, sedatives, and even heart or high blood pressure medications, can interfere with your body’s ability to regulate its temperature.
Be sure to drink six to eight glasses of water throughout the day, and more if you find yourself thirsty or if you are performing any sort of physical activity. When you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Because the feeling of thirst can diminish with age, it’s important to keep your body hydrated rather than waiting until you feel parched. Try to avoid alcoholic or caffeinated beverages, as these can contribute to dehydration.
Do you have additional questions about sun protection? The experienced, caring physicians at Memorial Clinical Associates can help you stay protected and healthy no matter the season or your age. Visit our Houston clinic today, or call us today at (713) 407-3067 to schedule an appointment.