Safety Tips for Seniors in Extreme Heat
With the recent heat index soaring over 100 degrees in recent weeks, seniors over are at higher risk to suffer the dangerous effects of extreme heat, even if they are healthy and active people. The sense of physical well-being is never an absolute guarantee against the effects of high temperatures.
Minimal to moderate hydration in older persons can contribute to increase the risk of suffering a profound dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Additionally, the brains of the older population often do not accurately perceive changes in temperature. Chronic medical conditions may change the body’s perception of temperature and some prescription medication may impair the body’s ability to absorb fluids, inhibit perspiration and create extreme sensitivity to the sun. Check with your physician for potential side effects of prescribed medication.
According to a federal study, 40% of the heat-related deaths occur among people in 65 years and older population.
Seniors should take care to avoid outdoor activity during the hottest part of the day noon-4pm, drink frequent cool non-alcoholic beverages, avoid heavy meals before going outdoors as well as wear light weight, light colored clothing and a hat.
Be aware of the warning signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke including red, dry, hot skin with no sweating; rapid strong pulse; throbbing headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness or confusion.
In the event you suspect a heat related crisis; immediately contact emergency services, move to a shady area or indoors immediately, douse the person with cool water by any means available-water hose, shower, wrap up in cool damp sheet and offer sips of cool non-alcoholic beverage.
You can still enjoy the lazy days of summer with a few simple precautions!
Sheila McArdle RN