Island Senior: Beating the heat

Posted August 2, 2022 at 12:07 pm by

Flossie at the beach — Photo credit: Peggy Sue McRae

The hot days of sum­mer are upon us. We wait all year for our beau­ti­ful island sum­mers, but still, some days are just too hot. Old­er adults are more vul­ner­a­ble to super hot weath­er. Dr. Basil Eldadah of the Nation­al Insti­tute on aging explains, “As we age, our abil­i­ty to sweat and to dilate blood ves­sels to cool our body declines.”

Old­er adults are more like­ly to have oth­er health issues adding stres­sors and com­pli­cat­ing mat­ters. For exam­ple, many peo­ple with heart dis­ease take diuret­ic med­ica­tions and may be at grater risk of dehy­dra­tion. Check with your doc­tor if you think your med­ica­tions should be adjust­ed dur­ing a heat wave.

Heat-relat­ed ill­ness may show up as feel­ing dizzy or light-head­ed, and could be accom­pa­nied by nau­sea or con­fu­sion. The effect­ed per­son may have an ele­vat­ed or weak­ened pulse. Skin may feel dry or hot to touch. Heat stroke symp­toms include a body tem­per­a­ture above 104, faint­ing, con­fu­sion, a lack of sweat­ing and a slow­ing heart rate. Old­er adults expe­ri­enc­ing these symp­toms should seek med­ical help immediately.

One thing about liv­ing on an island is that we can count on it being 10 to 15 degrees cool­er on the water. One great way to stay cool is to board the inter­is­land fer­ry as a walk-on pas­sen­ger for a free cruise to Lopez and back. If you are chill­ing on the water, though, don’t let that refresh­ing salt breeze trick you into get­ting sun­burned. Sun­screen and a hat are more impor­tant than ever on the water.

Accord­ing to the Wash­ing­ton State Depart­ment of Health, spend­ing just a few hours in an air-con­di­tioned envi­ron­ment can help relieve heat stress. At this time on the island we have no offi­cial cool­ing cen­ters set up, but we have lots of air con­di­tioned options to take a cool­ing break dur­ing the heat of the day. Through August, com­mu­ni­ty lunch­es will be served at the air-con­di­tioned Mullis Cen­ter from noon to 1 p.m. The Mullis Cen­ter also hosts after­noon social times on Mon­days and Wednes­days from 1 to 3 p.m. Enjoy a con­vivial social time while cool­ing off mid-day.

I asked my fel­low islanders on Face­book where else an islander might enjoy cool­ing off with air con­di­tion­ing. Here are my top responses:

  • The San Juan Island Library is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon­day through Fri­day and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
  • Take in a mati­nee at the Palace The­atre – call 360–370-5666 for showtimes
  • The San Juan Islands Muse­um of Art is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fri­day, Sat­ur­day, and Sun­day, as well as 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday.

The thrift store, food co-op, Kings Mar­ket, Ace Hard­ware, and the Mys­ti­cal Mer­maid all offer air-con­di­tioned shop­ping. Down­rig­gers, San Juan Island Brew­ing, Haley’s Sports Bar and Grill, Green­side Grill (at the Golf Course), and The Bean offer cool envi­ron­ments to dine, watch a game, or enjoy cafe society.

I’m sure there are many more cool places to nip out of the heat for a cool­ing break. Don’t hes­i­tate to do so when the days are hot.

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One comment...

  1. The art muse­um is open Thurs­day — Mon­day from 11am to 5pm and Thurs­day thru Sat­ur­day 7–9pm in the evening.

    Comment by DIANNE HALL on August 3, 2022 at 9:12 pm

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