EEK! Can I keep myself and the older people I love safe in hot weather?
Heat-related health problems increase with age! Did you know that?
Hyperthermia is caused by a failure of the heat-regulating mechanisms of the body. Hyperthermia includes:
- Heat fatigue
- Heat syncope (sudden dizziness after prolonged exposure to the heat)
- Heat cramps
- Heat exhaustion
- Heat stroke
Older people, particularly those with chronic medical conditions, have lifestyle factors that can often lead to hyperthermia including:
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Lack of mobility and access to transportation
- Living in housing without air conditioning
- Not understanding how to respond to hot weather conditions
- Visiting overcrowded places
What medical issues can lead to an increase in hyperthermia in the elderly?
You or your parents also may have medical issues that increase the risk of hyperthermia:
- Heart, lung and kidney diseases, as well as any illness that causes general weakness or fever.
- High blood pressure or other health conditions that require changes in diet.
- Use of multiple medications.
- Age-related changes to the skin such as poor blood circulation and inefficient sweat glands.
- Being substantially overweight or underweight.
- Reduced sweating, caused by medications such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers and certain heart and blood pressure drugs.
- Alcohol use.
What are the signs for heat stroke?
The Signs of Heat Stroke
Signs and symptoms of heat stroke include a significant increase in body temperature (generally above 104 degrees Fahrenheit), changes in mental status (like confusion or combativeness), strong rapid pulse, lack of sweating, dry flushed skin, feeling faint, staggering or coma.
How to aid someone suffering with hyperthermia (including heat stroke):
- Get the person out of the heat and into a shady, air-conditioned or other cool place. Urge them to lie down.
- If you suspect heat stroke, call 911.
- Encourage the individual to shower, bathe or sponge off with cool water if it is safe to do so.
- Apply a cold, wet cloth to the wrists, neck, armpits, and/or groin. These are places where blood passes close to the surface of the skin, and the cold cloths can help cool the blood.
- If the person can swallow safely, offer fluids such as water, fruit and vegetable juices. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
Head over to the National Institute on Aging for more information on Hyperthermia.
No compensation was provided for this post. The Chief Blonde posted this for your reference.
Source: The National Institute on Aging.