Published on July 20, 2015

How you can stay cool this summer

When temperatures rise, so does the risk of heat-related illness.

Drinking water“That’s especially true as you get older, because the body is less able to sense and respond to temperature changes,” says David Agosto Correa, CRNP, FNP-BC, Mercy LIFE Nurse Practitioner. “And some health problems, along with certain medications, can increase the risk of illness even more.”

So as summer heats up, take these steps to stay cool and safe.

Chill out. Remember, using a fan won’t keep you cool enough when the weather gets very hot. “If your home is too hot to handle, go somewhere with air conditioning—such as the library, an adult day center like Mercy LIFE, a friend’s house or a nearby mall,” Correa says.

Buddy up. Ask a friend or neighbor to check on you during extreme heat. And you can check on them in return.

Time it right. “If you must get activities done outside, like gardening or watering, do them before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.,” Correa says.

Splash around. Take a cool shower or bath, or sponge off with cool water. “Another option is to put a wet towel in your refrigerator for 15 minutes and then place it over your neck to help you cool off,” says Correa.

Wear it well. Dress in light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. “Opt for items made of cotton,” says Correa. “And avoid clothes made with synthetic materials that do not ‘breathe’.”

Be safe. Make sure to wear your sunglasses, apply sunscreen (preferably SPF 30 or greater) and use a wide-brimmed hat.