Summer is here and so are the hot days. Hot weather creates problems for all of us, but it is especially dangerous for seniors.
High temperatures and humidity kill almost 200 US citizens every year, most of them being over 50 years old. Since the average temperature increases every year, we are afraid this figure will rise as well.
It is essential to learn how to notice health problems in older adults and react quickly. Also, we will give you several tips on how to stay safe during hot days. Preventing a heat stroke and other hot-weather-related conditions should be your primary concern in summer.
Recognizing Health Problems Caused by High Temperature
Heat can lead to several problems. The most common are dehydration, exhaustion, fainting, and heat stroke.
People lose the water in their bodies more rapidly during hot days. Dehydration leads to dizziness, headache and muscle cramps. Make sure that older adults drink plenty of water in the summer, so they can avoid all these problems.
Exhaustion and Fainting
Severe dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion and fainting. Besides cramps, headache, and dizziness, seniors may experience nausea, vomiting, rapid or weak pulse, tiredness, etc. When experiencing these symptoms, find a cool place as soon as possible and drink water or other fluids. In case of dizziness and fainting, find a place to lie down and put your feet up in the air.
Heat stroke happens due to increased body temperature. People are usually red in the face and have all the symptoms mentioned above. Once you notice your elderly loved one is experiencing heat stroke symptoms, call emergency services as soon as possible. Take them to a cooler place. Soak their clothes in cold water and/or put wet cloths on them, especially around the neck, armpits, knees, and wrists. Give them water, but only if they are able to swallow it.
How to Prevent Heat-Related Problems
When it is too hot outside, have in mind the following tips.
If you don’t need to go outside – don’t! Stay at home and avoid being in the sun at all costs. If you know the day will be hotter than you can stand, run your errands in the early morning or later in the evening when the sun goes down.
Air conditioning is not the healthiest thing, but it can save you from having a heat stroke. Turn it on during the day and adjust it to a temperature that suits you. Remember not to sit directly below it, since this can cause other problems.
Wear loose and lightweight clothes. Avoid dark ones. Buy yourself a hat, because it can protect you from direct sunlight. If your body parts are exposed to the sun, put sunscreen on. The higher protection factor, the better.
Whenever you feel warm, take a bath or quick shower. You can also place a towel soaked in cool water around your neck, knees, ankles, and wrists. This will keep your temperature down several degrees.
And the most important tip – drink plenty of water. If you go out of the house, take a bottle with you. Juices are also fine, but try to avoid alcohol and coffee. Those can make you even more dehydrated.
Take hot weather seriously and don’t take any risks. Seniors are vulnerable during hot days, especially if they suffer from chronic diseases. Make sure your fluid intake responds to your body’s needs. Have a bottle of water wherever you go, but generally, avoid being in the sun. If you follow these tips, there is nothing to worry about. Make yourself a cold lemonade and enjoy summer.
More about protecting yourself in summer read here.
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