Older Adults and Extreme Heat
July 1, 2024Jim Oswald

Older adults are at high risk for heat-related illnesses that can be life-threatening! People’s ability to adapt to heat decreases with age. Many seniors also have underlying health conditions or take medications that can increase dehydration.

Extreme heat can lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Extreme heat will worsen conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory illnesses. Heat can also cause some medications to become less effective and some medications can reduce the body’s ability to adapt to heat. 

Climate change is expected to increase the number and intensity of extreme heat events. In San Francisco, an extreme heat day is any day above 85 degrees.

Tips to Beat the Heat!

Finding a Cool Place
Avoid being outdoors between 10 AM and 4 PM. If possible use an air conditioner or fans to keep your home cool and pull down the shades or curtains to keep your home cool.

If you need a cool place to go during the day, libraries, shopping malls, community centers, and museums with air conditioning will be open to the public.

Check SF72.org https://www.sf72.org/ or call 3-1-1 to find a cool space to spend the day close to your home! 

Drink Plenty of Water!
High summer temperatures increase your risk of heat stroke. Staying hydrated is important for your health and helps keep you cool during warm summer months. All adults should get at least 64oz of water daily.

If 64oz sounds like a lot, set smaller goals to achieve that amount. Adding flavor to your water can help you reach your goal. You can put mint, strawberries, or cucumber in your water to make it even more delicious and refreshing!

If you sometimes forget to drink water, try setting reminders for yourself. If you use a cell phone, you can set alarms throughout the day and drink water when they go off. You can also write yourself notes that say “Drink Water!” and leave them around your home. Read other Summer tips from our Nutrition team!

Be Prepared!

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