Newcastle is a beautiful, sunny and vibrant town. We are lucky to be blessed by such warm summers, with plenty of glorious sunshine to get outside and be active. However, as we get older we do unfortunately incur an increased risk of suffering heat-related illness, especially in that hot sun. With the sunniest season drawing closer, temperatures will climb steadily higher. So to make sure your independent living isn't affected, here are some great tips for reducing the risk of heat stress. 

Fluids fluids fluids

One of the top tips that both the Australian government-run Better Health Channel (BHC) and American Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest is to drink plenty of fluids. And they mean plenty. When your body starts to become dehydrated it can increase your chances of suffering heat-related illness as you will sweat less. By drinking plenty of cool water regularly – even before you are thirsty – you will help cool down your body from the inside, as well as give it enough juice to be able to sweat. If you are exercising vigorously, be it a tricky spot of gardening or spending time with the grandkids, make sure to try and drink around a pint of water per hour. 

Avoid the hottest sun

When the sun is highest, the day is hottest. If you can plan your outdoor activities around the lunch period, you will be avoiding the worst parts of the day. If you'd like to tend to your garden, try going out in the early morning, take a break over lunch, then return to it in the evening. The same goes for any other kind of outdoor exercise. Also, avoiding the sun by dressing for the occasion is also important – slip, slop and slap! A wide-brimmed hat will help shade your face, while sunglasses will protect your eyes. Sunscreen is great for preventing sunburn, and light clothing that covers as much exposed skin as possible without making you feel uncomfortable also helps. 

Final tips

If you want to get as full a day as possible in the garden and you are new to the hobby, gradually increase your workload over a period of time so you can acclimate to the weather. Also, don't be afraid to ask the friendly AEH staff for assistance as they are always willing to help! 

Finally, if you find yourself too hot despite your best efforts, pop back inside and take a cool shower or bath. Avoiding heat stress can be simple – all you have to do is prepare. 

How to avoid heat stress this summer