As summer arrives and temperatures increase, many of us look for ways to stay cool. Overheating can be a dangerous health risk, especially for seniors or people who are medically fragile.
This summer brings new challenges to avoiding heat because of COVID-19. Many of us seek the coolness of libraries, restaurants, movie theaters, or shopping malls. And during a regular summer, the County and many cities open cooling centers for seniors.
This year, most of these places are closed to reduce spread of the virus. We know it's passed
most easily when many people share the same space, especially when it's indoors.
Fortunately, there are still many ways to stay cool. The County's Employment and Human Services Department put together a list -- below.
It's a good idea to
yourself with the symptoms of heat related conditions, such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion. They include headache, nausea/vomiting, blurred vision, profuse sweating, exhaustion, dizziness, muscle cramps and fainting.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these call your doctor or 911.
Tips for hot weather:
- Drink plenty of water through the day.
- Limit physical activity and wear a hat outside.
- Keep shades and blinds closed, but open windows for fresh air.
- Don't rely on fans. If the temperature is 90-degrees or above, fans may not be enough.
- Take a tepid bath, or a dip in a swimming pool if this is an option.
- Wear loose-fitting, light-colored, lightweight cotton clothes.
- Always wear sunscreen of SPF30 or higher when outside.
- Eat foods high in water content, such as fruits, vegetables, and soups.
- Don't sit or leave someone unattended in a parked car for any reason, even with the windows open.
- Make sure you have friends or family you can contact at least twice a day during hot weather, to check-in.
- Talk to your doctor about your medications and heat.
- Use air conditioning if this is an option.
- Turn off electrical appliances and don't use the oven.
- Be prepared for planned power outages. This should include having an alternative place to stay if your power is turned off.
- Remember, pets can suffer from the heat too. Don't leave pets unattended in cars for any length of time.
- Make sure pets have plenty of fresh, cool water.
For more information, call Contra Costa's Senior and Disabled Helpline at 925-229-8434.