How to Help Seniors Avoid Heat Stroke This Summer
Now that the spring and summer temperatures are heating up, it is time for senior caregivers to be aware of some of the issues typically associated with heatstroke. If you are not familiar with heat stroke, then it is time to get a better understanding of this condition and just how serious it is. Hot weather is dangerous as is, and seniors are even more prone to the dangers that these temperatures can bring.
Heatstroke and related side effects are some of the most common reasons seniors end up in the hospital during the summer. This is why caregivers need to be aware of heatstroke and heat exhaustion and know how to help their loved ones avoid these issues altogether. Here are some of the best ways.
- Keep Seniors Hydrated
Many times, heat stroke happens in seniors because of dehydration. Most seniors are already at risk for issues with dehydration due to their current medications, and hot weather only makes it worse. In fact, most issues related to heatstroke have to do with dehydration. Make sure that seniors are drinking plenty of water every day, and monitor their liquid intake. It is also important to limit alcohol and caffeine. Remember, the hotter it gets, the more likely seniors will suffer from dehydration.
- Dress Seniors Appropriately
When seniors leave home during hot weather, they need to wear the right type of clothing. This means comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that is lightweight and in light colors. You would be surprised by home much of a difference an outfit can make when it comes to seniors and heat stroke.
- Plan Activities According to the Time of Day
Most seniors can’t just stay inside all day when it is hot out, so if your loved one wants to leave the home and get outdoors, make sure that you plan accordingly. It is the hottest during mid-day, so if your loved one wants to sit outside or run errands plan their outings for early in the morning or later in the evening. Remember, when your loved one is inside, it is best to stay in the air conditioning.
- Check the Heat Index
When your loved one is getting ready to head out for the day, chances are they are going to check the temperatures on the weather. However, in addition to the actual temperature, make sure that you watch the heat index. When it is humid, it is more difficult for the body to cool itself, so you need to be even more careful.
- Know When Your Loved One is in Trouble
If your loved one suffers from heatstroke, heat-related exhaustion or another type of heat illness, the faster you are able to act, the better. Know the warning signs so you can get your loved one help right away. This includes nausea, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, fainting, chest pain, and trouble breathing. Take any people with these symptoms to the emergency room.
Keep these tips in mind this summer if you are looking after a senior loved one, they may just help save their life.
- Kimberly Langdon M.D. is a retired, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place for her senior research project and placed in the 98th percentile on the national exam for OB/GYN residents in the U.S..
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