Beat the Heat

Stephanie Chong

DC is known for its hot and humid summers. My how our city has lived up to its reputation over the past several days! With temperatures high, it’s worth the reminder to stay hydrated! In fact, older adults are more vulnerable to dehydration. Read this article from the National Council on Aging for more information. Contact your doctor or call 9-1-1 if you exhibit signs of dehydration:

  • Dark-colored urine, urinating less frequently
  • Fatigue, or feeling weak
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramps in arms or legs
  • Dry mouth
  • Confusion, decreased cognitive function

When a glass of water is not appealing, try adding a slice of lemon and ice to plain water, enjoy sparkling water, or try a flavored sports drink. You can also try including water-rich foods with every meal. Cucumbers, watermelon, lettuce, strawberries, tomatoes, and celery are refreshing on a hot summer day. Soups, broths, and stews can also increase your fluid intake. Limit alcohol and caffeine intake.

DC Health offers information on heat related illnesses and how to stay safe during extreme heat. In addition to staying hydrated, DC Health recommends wearing clothing that is loose-fitting, light colored and breathable, and staying indoors during mid-day hours when the temperature is at its highest.

DC has a Heat Emergency Plan that is put into effect when the temperature or heat index reaches 95° F. The Heat Emergency Plan website includes a map of cooling centers around the city, and there is an alert at the top to indicate whether there is currently a heat emergency in effect.

NNV Full Members can contact the office to request a volunteer to grocery shop and stock the fridge with hydrating drinks and food. Members who are having difficulty staying cool at home are encouraged to contact the office at 202-935-6060.

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