Summer is here and most of us are more than eager to spend our time outdoors, but the warm weather can sometimes spark foul weather injuries, ailments and conditions that lead to more serious illness—especially for folks with chronic health conditions who tend to stay close to home. It’s not surprising that  many heat-related problems can become full body concerns, from head to shoulders, knees and toes!

As temperatures rise,  Registered Nurse Beth O’Keefe with VNSNY CHOICE Health Plans  decided that it was time to discuss common heat related problems that can become real summer “hot spots” for just about everyone. Here are some head-to-toe reminders that will help keep you cool this summer as the heat blazes on:

·         Heads Up Healthy: Seniors are more vulnerable to heat exhaustion and heat-related problems, that can include confusion, dizziness, lightheadedness, and headaches. There can be many causes, including dehydration, and one of the most important ways to maintain health during the summer is by drinking enough fluids to stay hydrated. Seeking shade on a hot sunny day makes good sense too, so when you venture out for a little vitamin D, head for the park where there are lots of trees and benches to help you keep your cool.

·         Sizzling Shoulders: Reduced flexibility and inflamed joints can be a summer bummer. Even simple summer activities can be difficult when the stiffness of arthritis begins to set in. The most mobile joint in the body, as an individual ages our shoulders become more prone to instability. You don’t have to be swinging a baseball bat to experience stiffness and tight shoulder muscles, especially during a summer heat wave. Gentle arm stretches or even just swinging your arms from left to right can help relax tight shoulder muscles, reduce discomfort, and improve mobility and flexibility.

·         Knocked Out Knees: Drastic changes in the temperature can cause joint pain and stiffness making it hard to walk, climb stairs or even get in and out bed. So, for people with chronic and/or hip complications, it is important to understand your bodies’ limitations. Special shoe inserts, which can be found at your local pharmacy, will help maintain balance and leg alignment when walking to ensure that you’re safe even when out in the sun.

·         Too Tight Toes: Summertime is the season for open-toed shoes, but these flip-flops and worn-down sandals can be dangerous! The lack of support and grip on the foot can cause overuse of the toe muscles which will eventually lead to serious problems. The key is to wear shoes that fit properly and are in good condition because the instability can encourage trips and falls, which according to the National Council on Aging, an older adult is treated for every 15 seconds.

Enjoy the weather, but stay safe. Spotting warning signs such as: dizziness, nausea, headache, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, fainting and breathing problems which are often overlooked can actually indicate the onset of something more serious. People of all ages are prone to summer-related injuries, don’t be one of them!