When the heat is on...

The fourth weekend of January 2022 was a viciously hot one in Cape Town.

No wind, not even a breeze, just heat, just 35*C ++++!

Predictions are that this will happen again, not only here in Cape Town but in many places around the world.

During this episode I became aware of how important it is to make provision for our well being in times of extreme weather conditions.

I began to collect some information and experimented.

So, as a result here are some tips for us seniors, for our carers and for those approaching seniority. (if you're lucky, you too will get there!)

Please take the advice seriously; it’s much easier doing that than living with or dying from the consequences. (I was surprised to find out that heat stroke in an older person is a very serious situation, can happen relatively easily and can lead to death...)

It seems much easier to me to follow some sensible advice like:

Drink plenty of water; drink plenty of water; drink plenty of water

As seniors we need to remind ourselves that this is important because as we age we do not feel the thirst as much as we did when we were younger. It has to do with sweat glands not working in the same fashion. Sweating allows the body to cool down, when we don’t sweat we don’t notice the thirst and we forget to water the body.

At my age I imagine a heat wave as the same situation for my body as having a fever...so I use the same methods to bring the body temperature down, way down:

  • I drink cold water

  • I wear a wet cloth around my neck; I have one on my head and when I rest on my bed I sling wet towels around my ankles. Oftentimes I sit with my feet in a cold water foot bath

  • When the heat is at its worst, I put the wet towels into the freezer for a little while. They are wonderfully cooling for a moment or four when I take them out and put them around my neck

  • I stay indoors as much as possible, especially around noon.

  • I don’t forget about the constitutional walks and swims, but I turn down the pace and do it early in the morning and late in the afternoon. A cold shower helps to bring the body temperature down.

So does a swim, of course, if you can manage one – remember that the purpose of our project "cool it baby” is to bring the body temperature down.no

What to eat in times of heat?

  • All juicy fruit and vegetables, watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, celery.

  • Drink coffee and alcohol in moderation, since those drinks tend to dehydrate the body.

  • Make sure you take care of the body’s electrolyte household. (I keep some sachets of ‘rehydrate’ handy for those hot days.)

  • Check if your medication makes you even more susceptible to dehydration and if in doubt, contact your medical advisor.

  • Keep your room as cool as possible by drawing curtains before the sun gets really hot. Use a fan if you can.

And remember: this too shall pass!

If you feel dizzy, disoriented, faint, headachy or in any way unusually unwell and out of sorts, it’s a good idea to call for help; at least for some advice.

Please don’t be shy - Heat, it appears is definitely to be taken very seriously.

So drink water and look after your body heat - you’re still needed as the cool cat you are.

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