Although the sun is the best natural source of vitamin D, excessive exposure can be detrimental, especially for the elderly. Here are some tips for staying healthy and safe when it’s hot outside:
1. Dress properly
In summer, it is best to dress in loose, light clothing made of breathable fabric. Light colors are also recommended, as well as long sleeves to protect the skin from the sun. Complete the look with a wide-brimmed hat to protect the scalp and face, and a pair of wrap-around sunglasses with 100% UV protection, as eyes can be very sensitive for many older people. Overheating can easily occur on hot days. Seniors should therefore limit the time they spend outdoors, especially when UV rays are most intense, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
2. Wear sunscreen
Before going outside, be sure to apply a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF, or sun protection factor, of at least 30 to all skin that clothing won’t cover. Keep it with you so you can reapply every few hours. And don’t forget the lips. Protect them with a broad-spectrum lip balm SPF 30 or higher.
3. Check Medication Side Effects
Increased sensitivity to the sun can be a common side effect of medications. Seniors should check with their doctor to see if any prescription or over-the-counter medications they are taking have any side effects that should be considered before spending time outdoors. Additionally, certain vitamins may put individuals at risk of being more sensitive to the sun, so it is important to review those as well.
Elderwerks Educational Services: 251 E. Northwest Highway, Palatine, IL 60067: 855.462.0100: https://www.elderwerks.org/