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Do's and Don'ts for Elderly During Hot Summer Days

Hyperthermia, or overheating, can be dangerous for the elderly
12:00 AM May 26, 2024 IST | DR. ZUBAIR SALEEM
do s and don ts for elderly during hot summer days


  1. Stay Hydrated:
  • Drink Plenty of Water: Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. If you sweat more, increase your intake.
  • Consume Hydrating Foods: Eat fruits and vegetables with high water content, such as cucumbers, watermelon and oranges.
  1. Stay Cool Indoors:
  • Use Air Conditioning: Spend time in air-conditioned places. If you don't have air conditioning at home, use fans and coolers to circulate air, but be mindful that in extreme heat, fans alone may not be sufficient.
  • Showers or Baths: Take normal water showers or baths to lower your body temperature.
  1. Wear Appropriate Clothing:
  • Lightweight Fabrics: Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothing.
  • Protective Gear: Use a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect from the sun.
  1. Plan Outdoor Activities Wisely:
  • Avoid Peak Sun Hours: Limit outdoor activities to early morning or late evening when it’s cooler.
  • Take Breaks: Rest frequently in shaded or cool areas.
  1. Use Sunscreen:
  • Apply Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen: Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply every two hours, or more often if sweating.
  1. Monitor Health Conditions:
  • Check Medications: Some medications can increase sensitivity to heat. Consult with your doctor about any potential side effects.
  • Look Out for Heat-Related Symptoms: Be aware of signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, such as dizziness, nausea, headache, rapid pulse, and confusion.
  1. Stay Connected:
  • Check-in Regularly: Have a family member, friend, or neighbor check on you regularly.
  • Emergency Contacts: Keep a list of emergency contacts easily accessible.


  1. Avoid Dehydrating Beverages:
  • Stop Alcohol and Caffeine: Alcohol and caffeinated beverages can dehydrate your body.
  1. Don’t Overexert Yourself:
  • Avoid Strenuous Activities: Refrain from heavy exercise or physical activities during the hottest parts of the day.
  1. Avoid Direct Sun Exposure:
  • Don’t Stay in the Sun Too Long: Prolonged exposure can lead to sunburn and heat-related illnesses.
  1. Avoid Hot, Crowded Places:
  • Stay Away from Overcrowded Events: These can be hot and make it harder to stay cool.
  1. Don’t Ignore Symptoms:
  • Address Health Issues Promptly: If you start feeling unwell, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention.
  1. Avoid Using the Oven or Stove:
  • Opt for Cooler Meals: Prepare meals that don’t require cooking, such as salads or fresh fruits, to keep the home cooler.

Symptoms of Hyperthermia in the Elderly

Hyperthermia, or overheating, can be dangerous for the elderly. Watch for these symptoms:


Early Signs

  • Elevated Temperature: Mild fever or feeling unusually warm.
  • Excessive Sweating: Heavy sweating not matching activity level.
  • Dehydration: Increased thirst, dry mouth, and skin.
  • Fatigue and Weakness: Unusual tiredness or low energy.
  • Headache and Dizziness: Persistent headache or lightheadedness.
  • Muscle Cramps: Painful cramps, especially in legs, arms, or abdomen.

Advanced Signs (Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke)


  • High Fever: Body temperature above 103°F (39.4°C).
  • Confusion and Agitation: Disorientation or mood changes.
  • Rapid Heart Rate: Fast or pounding heartbeat.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Feeling queasy or vomiting.
  • Skin Changes: Red, hot, and dry skin or pale and clammy skin.
  • Decreased Sweating: Reduced sweating despite high temperature.
  • Breathing Difficulties: Rapid or shallow breathing.
  • Loss of Consciousness: Fainting or unresponsiveness.

Immediate Actions


  • Move to a Cooler Place: Get to an air-conditioned or shaded area.
  • Hydrate: Offer water or sports drinks; avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Cool Down: Use cool, wet clothes, fans, or a cool shower/bath.
  • Seek Medical Help: Call emergency services if symptoms are severe or if the person loses consciousness.


Note: The elderly who have been told to restrict fluid intake for certain health conditions should follow the advice of their doctor.