Where were you on July 3, this year?
Our planet made history that day, registering its hottest day ever recorded as temperatures sizzled to triple digits around the globe.
Twenty-four hours later, another firecracker-hot day broke the record again.
Get used to it, say scientists.
Take it seriously.
The Number One Weather-Related Killer
Not hurricanes, not floods, not earthquakes –– heat kills more people than any other weather-related event. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says each year heat kills more than 700 people, sends almost 70,000 to the ER, and hospitalizes more than 9,000.
And it strikes lightning fast –– shutting down organs, causing or exacerbating cardiovascular and respiratory complications, renal failure, and electrolyte imbalance.
Are You Most At Risk?
If you’re over 60, you are most in danger of deadly heat-related complications. As we age, we lose muscle mass, meaning we have less water in our bodies and a diminished sense of thirst –– the first warning of dehydration.
Marquis Companies award-winning nurse consultant, Vicki Nordby knows the importance of providing a variety of creative hydration options for residents and staff – popsicles, lemonade, and water flavored with cucumbers, lemon, or fruit.
“Hot weather is here to stay, so staying hydrated must be part of your daily checklist,” says Nordby. “Along with your keys and wallet, take your water bottle, if you’re going out. You never know when a five-minute excursion can turn into hours, so be prepared. Avoid being out in the mid-afternoon and don’t wait until you’re thirsty. Drink fluids at regular intervals.”
Let’s look at 3 more tips to keep you hot-weather wise!
#1 Know The Forecast & How To Prepare
Yes, we all joke they’re not always right, but it’s smart to listen to your local meteorologist. Pay attention to the terms, “heat advisory” and “heat warning.” These are your signals to prepare.
Scientists are so alarmed about the new norm of scorching temperatures they’ve created some fascinating websites for you to use.
- Heat.gov, for timely and science-based information to understand and reduce the health risks of extreme heat.
- Heat and Health Tracker, information on the NOAA-supported Urban Heat Island Mapping Campaign.
- Weather.gov to see if your area is at risk of an excessive heat event.
#2 Know The Warning Symptoms
Make sure you know the side effects of all your medications. Certain medications and chronic conditions can make it difficult to detect dehydration because they mimic the same symptoms. For example, dry mouth is an early sign of dehydration, but it’s also a side effect of diuretics. Among the other warning signs of dehydration are:
- Muscle cramps
- Rapid heart rate
- Decreased urination
- Dark urine
- Dizziness and mood swings
#3 Know How Much Water To Drink
Seniors, especially those on medications, should always ask their physicians about how much water to drink daily. A general rule is to use the 8 x 8 rule: drink eight, eight-ounce glasses of water a day. This is equal to two liters or a half a gallon of water. Be proactive and make it a habit.
Invest in a water bottle you enjoy holding and using and even a “smart” water bottle that helps you track your daily intake.
Then, drink up that life-saving H2O!