Keep your Cool


Everyone needs to take steps to stay safe in hot weather, but seniors especially need to be careful. Our internal “temperature gauge” doesn’t work the way it used to, and becoming overheated can sneak up on us, with dehydration right on its heels.
Here are a few ways to stay cool in summer:

  • If you have air conditioning, use it. Keep an eye on the heat index (temperature plus humidity) on the weather news. The higher the humidity, the less we’re able to sweat and let air evaporation cool us.
  • Go somewhere cool in the middle of the day, such as the library or a nearby coffee shop that has air conditioning. Find out from your senior center if there are cooling centers in your area where you can go for a few hours.
  • Drink plenty of water. Some of our drugs can be dehydrating; ask your doctor if your prescriptions mean you should drink more water. Ask him or her how much liquid you should drink during hot weather, especially if your intake is limited because of water retention. Remember that drinks with caffeine (such as tea or coffee) can be dehydrating, as can alcoholic beverages or sugary drinks like sodas.
  • Dress in lightweight clothing. Wear a hat if you go outside.
  • Put a cool, damp washcloth on pulse points like the wrist and neck. Take a cool shower.
  • Sign up with a seniors phone service that will check on you, or arrange with friends and family to stay in close contact during hot weather.

Keep an eye on the symptoms of heat exhaustion: clammy skin, fainting, nausea, muscle cramps and weakness. Call for help if you experience any of these because they can lead to heat stroke if not taken care of.
Matilda Charles regrets she cannot personally answer reader questions, but she will incorporate them into her column whenever possible. Send email to
(c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.


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