How to Keep Safe in the Sun by Dr Hilary Jones

The UK is currently enjoying the second rainiest month of the year with very low sunshine, so it may be hard to believe we are actually in Summer! This isn’t the case for the rest of Europe though, with many parts experiencing record temperatures in a heatwave dubbed Lucifer!

Many of us may, therefore, be jetting off to far warmer climates and if we are older in years there are a few things to consider to keep safe in the sun. Firstly, let’s identify those at most risk.


Those at Risk in the Sun

  • Those over 75 are far vulnerable to the effects of heat as they cannot lose heat as quickly as younger people.
  • People with existing medical conditions such as Heart and Lung Disease.
  • If you suffer from mobility issues such as Parkinson’s or have suffered a Stroke.
  • Patients using long term medication as this affects the ability to sweat and therefore reduce the core temperature.

Ways to Reduce the Effects of the Sun and Heat

One of the most obvious ways to reduce the risk of complications is to drink plenty of water. Keeping well hydrated is important as we get older because our sense of thirst is not so great. Water keeps your brain alert and being well hydrated puts less pressure on your heart.

Wherever you are it’s important to avoid the hottest part of the day, normally between 11am and 3pm. The Spanish are experts at this, with many taking a siesta during this period to recharge the batteries in the searing heat. Statistics show that regular rest can reduce coronary mortality by 37%.

Along with ensuring you are hydrated, regular cool showers can lower the body temperature. This will bring your heart rate down and lower any stress levels associated with the heat.

It’s important to wear cool and loose clothes in hot temperatures as well. Studies show that light coloured loose clothing is the best way to remain cool in the summer heat. A hat will also help keep your head cool!


Dr Hilary Jones’ Video on Keeping Safe in the Sun

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