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Sep. 15, 2017

By Lorena Gomez, MD
WellMed at Paisano
El Paso, Texas

Summer heat can be hard for older adults. So it’s important to think about how to deal with the harmful effects of the sun.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that if you’re 65 or older you are more likely to have heart problems and diabetes. These conditions can affect how your body handles the hotter temperatures. Also, the medicine you take for these can change how you sweat to stay cooler.

On top of that, summer is mosquito season. The combination can be bad for older adults.

Every summer I tell my older patients to remember three things: hydration, sun protection and mosquito repellent.


Dehydration can make you dizzy, cause headaches and make you fatigued. But the answer is simple, drink more water.

When I talk to my patients I first I ask them, “How much sun have you had?” Then I ask, “How much water have you had?” You really should drink eight cups a day. But sometimes it’s hard to keep track. The easiest solution is to have one cup in the morning, one cup with each meal, and one before bed.

IV hydrations are commonplace in my clinic come summertime. My patients feel much, much better after.

Sun Protection & Mosquito Repellent

If you plan on being outside for awhile, wear long sleeves and pants if possible. Put sun block on any parts that aren’t covered up and spray on insect repellent.

I suggest to older adults that they avoid being outside from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. But if you’re dead-set on going outside, at least bring an umbrella, and use sunscreen; you really need to be ready for the sun.

This summer the El Paso area had three confirmed cases of West Nile virus. Mosquitoes love standing water and grassy areas, and they are most active around dusk and dawn.

To report standing water or mosquito breeding areas, call 311. For more information on city health programs and services, call 211 or visit

Dr. Lorena Gomez of WellMed at El Paso Drive earned her medical degree from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. She completed her residency and internship in family medicine from Texas Tech School of Medicine. 

Summer Preparation for Seniors Headed Outside

–      Dehydration

Avoid being outside from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

–      Sun Protection

Be vigilant with sun – find shade, wear sunglasses, use an umbrella

Wear sunscreen – melanoma

–      Mosquito Repellent

Mosquitoes are most active during dusk/dawn

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