Protecting Seniors in the Summer Heat

As the summer heats up, people come out of their winter hibernation to play in the sun. However, when the sunshine comes out, the elderly should take the most precautions because they are at risk for heat stroke or heat exhaustion so it is important to protect seniors in the summer heat. According to AARP, seniors are the most at risk because their bodies do not adapt as easily to change in weather and some medicines or health conditions may make heat diseases worse.

Symptoms to look for:

Seniors who go out in the heat should be checked on regularly and should avoid going outside when the heat is the strongest (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).Heat exhaustion is not as serious as heat stroke, but is sometimes a precursor to more serious heat diseases. Heat stroke is the most serious heat-induced condition, causing the body’s temperature to rise over 106 degrees in 10-15 minutes. Heat stroke should be taken very seriously as it can lead to permanent disability or death.

Symptoms of heat stroke are:
1. Hot, dry skin and profuse sweating
2. Hallucinations
3. Chills
4. Throbbing headache
5. High body temperature
6. Confusion/dizziness
7. Slurred speech

If a senior is displaying these symptoms 911 should be called and the senior should be put into a shady cool area and a cold compress put on his or her head.

Caffeinated or alcoholic drinks should be avoided whenever possible in the heat because they will make dehydration worse. Also, checking the color of your urine can be a sign if you are dehydrated or not. The darker the color, the more dehydrated. If a senior is displaying intense symptoms of heat stroke, they should be taken to the emergency room immediately.

Protecting Seniors in the Summer Heat