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Summer Safety Tips for Immunocompromised and Aging Adults

Summer is in full swing; the sun is shining, the days are longer, thunder and lightning storms sweep in within seconds, and temperatures are quickly rising. After spending so much time inside during the winter and because of the pandemic, many are anxious to get outside and enjoy the season’s activities. Help to keep your loved ones safe this summer by thinking ahead and preparing prior to outings and activities. We put together six tips to help you make the most out of summertime, while also keeping your sick or aging loved one safe!

Hydration

Hydration is important for everyone, but it is especially crucial for the elderly, as the ability to conserve water reduces with age. Additionally, individuals undergoing treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy, or dialysis are at a greater risk for dehydration and can experience serious side effects from a lack of water intake. Don’t forget to pack water whenever you are going out of the home. There are also water bottles available at many major retail stores that indicate how much to drink and by what time of the day.

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Always Apply and Bring Sunscreen

Purchase sunscreen with at least 30 SPF and broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Kindly remind your loved one to cover every exposed area with sunblock — including often-forgotten spots like their ears, upper lip, the backs of their hands, and the tops of their feet. Make sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating.

Check Medications

Some medications can cause increased sensitivity to the sun. Look over your loved one’s medications and talk with their doctor about any concerns or questions you might have. Also, many medications degrade at temperatures over 86° F, making them less effective. Make sure that wherever their medications are stored is a cool place.

Layer Clothing

If you’re leaving for an activity early in the morning when the temperature is lower, your loved one may not be appropriately dressed for the warmer part of the day. Encourage them to wear layers of clothing so that they can adjust as necessary. Loose, light-colored clothing will help them feel cooler and more comfortable, and a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses will help protect delicate skin and eyes from the sun.

Keep Cool

Stay away from direct sun exposure as much as possible. If possible, plan your outdoor activities either early in the morning or when the sun starts to set. If you know that your loved one will be outdoors during warmer weather, make sure they have the ability to cool down every hour or two, whether that’s an air-conditioned house, car, or body of water.

Check the Weather
If the temperature or humidity is rising up or an air pollution alert is in effect, there is an increased risk for a heat-related illness. Play it safe by checking the weather report before going outside and plan your outings/activities accordingly! Avoid outings during extreme weather or temperatures.

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