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'Snowbirds' Beware the Climate Changes
Date:1/7/2009

the skin more sensitive to sunlight, Resnick said, so it bears asking the doctor before you head south if any of your medications boost your risk of sunburn.

To ward off dehydration, "drink 6 to 8 eight-ounce glasses of liquid each day," Resnick said. It's OK to count other beverages besides plain water. Acceptable alternatives to water include fruit juices, lemonade or sports drinks, but avoid caffeinated drinks. Being aware of the symptoms of dehydration (dry mouth, lowered output of urine, sluggish behavior) can help, too.

The symptoms of heat stroke include dizziness, headache, increased body temperature and dry skin. Heat stroke is potentially fatal and seniors should seek medical help immediately if the condition is suspected.

As for drinking alcohol and engaging in risky sexual behaviors, moderation and safe-sex practices are key to staying safe and healthy, Resnick said.

More information

There's more on avoiding falls and fractures at the U.S. National Institute on Aging.

And If You Stay in the Snowy North

Seniors who skip the trek to Florida, Arizona or other snowbird destinations, deciding to tough it out in cold climates, can keep themselves safe and comfortable by following a few simple steps, said Dr. Sharon Brangman, a member of the American Geriatrics Society and professor of medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, N.Y.

  • Stay indoors if it's brutally cold. That's especially good advice if it's windy and cold, which can make you feel colder.
  • Assemble a winter wardrobe. That includes clothes you can layer, such as a sweater that goes over a long-sleeved T-shirt, a hat, gloves or mittens, boots that are flat with nonskid soles, a warm coa
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