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The Dog Days of Summer
By: Lisa Beatty, 7/20/2022

I’ve always assumed that this term referred to the hottest part of the summer – you know, the days so hot that even the dog doesn’t want to go outside.  But really, the reference to "dog days” dates back to the time of the ancient Greeks and their beliefs about a star in the constellation called Canis Major.  The Greeks thought of Canis Major as a dog chasing a hare named Lepus.  The tip of the dog’s nose is the star called Sirius, which became known as the "dog star.”  To the Greeks, the "dog days” typically occurred in late July when Sirius rose just before the sun, corresponding with the hottest days of the year.

The dog days of summer can be glorious (if you like the heat), but also very dangerous, especially for seniors, who may be more prone to heat stress than others.  Why?  Older adults don’t adjust to sudden or drastic changes in temperature as well as younger folks do.  On top of that, they may have medical conditions or take medications that change the body’s normal response to heat and/or affect the body’s ability to sweat.

So, what’s a senior to do?  Stay cool!  Spend as much time as possible in an air-conditioned place.  If you don’t have A/C at home, find a local shelter or senior center that does.  Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink or you may already be dehydrated. [Dehydration has been associated with increased falls, constipation, and urinary tract infections, among other things.]  Try to avoid juice and caffeinated beverages.  Wear loose, light-weight clothing.  If you get too hot, take a cool shower or bath.  And finally, make sure you know what the signs of heat-stress are!  These symptoms may include: nausea or vomiting; muscle cramps; feeling tired, weak, or dizzy; headache, and fainting.  If you experience these symptoms for longer than one hour, seek medical attention immediately!

Summer is also a great time to stop by our office to talk – about anything from emergency preparedness planning to a review of your current estate plan.  We’ve got A/C, so come keep cool with us!  To make an appointment, call us at 248 685-8743.



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