Island Senior: Beating the heat
Posted August 2, 2022 at 12:07 pm by 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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