Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Heat Related Illnesses in Elderly

Hot summer days can increase anyone’s risk of dehydration or heat illness. But summer poses even more risks for seniors, who may not closely monitor their body temperatures. Elderly adults may not adjust as well as younger people during sudden temperature changes, and they are more likely to have medical conditions that change body responses to heat. All things considered, older adults are more at risk for heat illnesses, especially in the middle of the summer season. Both heat stroke and exhaustion pose dangers for your loved ones.
 Look for these signs that your family member or friend may need medical attention for a heat stroke:
-High body temperature and red, dry skin that is not sweating
-Rapid, strong pulse
-Intense headache
Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat illnesses that could develop over time. Consider these symptoms that may indicate your loved one needs medical attention and a reprieve from the heat:
-Vomiting, nausea, or fainting
-Heavy sweating
-Muscle cramping
-Fast and shallow breathing
-Pale skin
-Fast, weakened pulse
Luckily, keeping your older loved ones safe from hot temperatures is manageable. Consider these important senior health steps to protect your elderly family members and friends this season. 
Drink Enough Fluids
One of the most effective ways to stay safe during the summer is to ensure that your loved one is drinking enough fluids to stave off dehydration. They should drink lots of water and eat foods with high water content. Fruits, like watermelon, are ideal. However, they should avoid coffee or alcohol, which could lead to dehydration instead of deliver the water they need to stay healthy.
Take Cool Showers or Baths
Taking regular cool showers or baths can help regulate body temperature and keep it from rising too much. Help your elderly relative or friend by ensuring that their tub has non-slip mats or safety bars to help prevent falls or accidents while cooling off.
Use a Home Health Aide
If your loved one is aging in place, he or she may appreciate having someone coming to visit and check on them regularly. Plus, an aide can provide companionship if the extreme heat is keeping your relative or friend hidden away indoors for long periods of time. 
Stay Inside During Peak Heat Hours
Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., the summer sun will be its hottest. Remind your loved one to stay inside during these hours. If they need to go out, make sure they wear light-colored and loose fitting clothes, as well as a brimmed hat and sunglasses. Furthermore, make sure they always have fresh, cool water to bring along when they go out.
Look for Cool Places
When it comes to providing summer senior care, Asheville families should help their loved ones locate the nearest air-conditioned places. This is especially important if they do not have air conditioning in their home, or if the power goes out during the day. Put together a list of spots that are cool and low in humidity, like a library, movie theater, shopping mall, or senior center.
By knowing the warning signs and taking proper precaution, you can help your older loved ones stay safe during the summer. As an added bonus, you can make sure they are better able to enjoy some of the most beautiful days of the year. 

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