Taking certain medications like beta blockers and diuretics, having medical issues like heart disease and just living alone all increase your risk for heat stress and are common traits among senior citizens. Heat stress can result in minor inconveniences like heat rash or cramping or it can create serious problems like dehydration, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Preventing heat-related illness is an important part of good health for seniors in Staten Island.
Let’s look at symptoms and signs of heat stroke in the elderly.
Good advice for any age is to pay attention to your body when it’s warm and be aware of the symptoms of heat stress, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Here are a few symptoms to watch out for when the weather gets warm. Avoid spending too much time outdoors all at once, but if it does happen, be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
The most common signs of heat exhaustion are:
- Dark urine
- Hot, dry skin
- Paleness, even when hot
Heat stroke is the more severe and symptoms include the above as well as:
- High body temperature
- Alternating between chills and sweating ▪ Flushed skin
- Rapid breathing
- Racing heart rate
- Confusion or disorientation
- Severe headache
Treatments for Heat Exhaustion in the Elderly
If you notice these symptoms, get indoors or in the shade immediately, drink water and remove any unnecessary clothing. For both heat exhaustion and heat stroke in the elderly, seek medical help immediately. Call 911 and cool the person down by getting them to shade or air conditioning as quickly as possible. Use any means necessary to cool the body’s temperature like wet towels, a hose or ice packs placed in the armpits and groin area or even a cool bath.
Preventing Heat Stroke in the Elderly
Prevention is far better than treatment. If the temperature is over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, seniors need to take precautions.
- Limit your time outside in the hottest parts of the day: from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Even if you stay in the shade, the heat and humidity can do just as much damage without the sun being directly on you.
- Drink plenty of water. Fluids will keep your body hydrated and less likely to suffer the ill effects of heat exhaustion. Avoid any drinks with alcohol in them; they will only dehydrate your body and make the situation worse.
- If you must go out, ensure that you are wearing proper attire. Hats with a wide brim, loose fitted clothing, and sunscreen all help to protect you from the heat.
- Light colors help to reflect the sun’s rays and the heat associated with it. Whites and pastels will keep you much cooler than dark blues and blacks. Also be sure that your clothing is lightweight and loose fitting.
- Make sure your AC is functioning.
- Avoid exercise and other strenuous activity in the extreme heat. Workout in air conditioned gymnasiums or through activities that are cooling, such as swimming.
- Avoid hot areas such as attics or cars that have been outside for a long time. Cool your car down before getting in.
- Discuss all your medications with your doctor to learn which can increase your risk of heat-related illnesses.
- Last, but not least, younger people should check on older loved ones often.
David York Agency Understands the Importance of Caring for Seniors
Above all, David York Agency is available to assist in any way you need to ensure that your loved one gets the very best of care. We provide skilled home health aide services for the elderly in their home and are abreast of all the latest guidelines for seniors.
Importantly, David York Agency understands the challenges of caregiving and is willing to provide all the support you need.
If you’d like more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.
David York Agency Home Healthcare remains committed to providing personalized care for your loved one. If you have questions about our services, please contact us. We can help you through the difficult times and give you the break you deserve!