Summer is finally here and while the temperature rises, seniors can be at risk of potential heat strokes, severe dehydration, or it can increase the severity of their present condition. Some medications that the elderly take can increase the risk of dehydration. Heat-related illnesses kill more people than most natural disasters in the United States alone. With the elderly being at a higher risk of heat stroke and dehydration this season, it's good to know the signs and how to act upon the situation.
You will notice when a senior is at risk or is really close to having a heat stroke. Some of the signs include:
What to do
If you noticed that they have any of the symptoms above call for medical assistance immediately. If there is an air-conditioned building or a shady area that you have access to take the person in need there to try to cool them down. Take any fitted articles of clothing off of them so they have room to breathe. You want to try to cool their body down as much as you can before medical personnel arrive. One way to do this is to take an ice pack or bags of ice and place them on the person's neck, groin, armpits and back.
Ways to prevent dehydration and heat stroke
The key component to prevent dehydration and heat stroke is water. Staying hydrated during these hot summer days is crucial. As our brains get older, it's harder for the brain to send out messages when your body needs water. During the summer it is a good practice to start drinking more water than you would normally drink in the spring time or winter. Our bodies are composed of about 60% of water making it a key ingredient for them to function properly. Try wearing loose articles of clothing to prevent your body from overheating or trouble breathing. When planning any outdoor activity during the summertime make sure to schedule it during the cooler times of the day either in the mornings or early afternoon. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing hats, sunglasses or lounging under an umbrella.
Summer can be fun but only by taking the necessary precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses.