Helping the Elderly Beat The Heat
The punishing summer heat can be dangerous for everyone regardless of age, but the elderly are more vulnerable to the dangers of heat exposure. Extremely warm temperature is not only a cause for discomfort, it can pose a serious threat to human life when ignored. In fact, based on a study made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hundreds of people perish yearly because of heat-related ailments. The statistics may not seem much compared to heart disease or lung cancer, but the thing is each of those deaths could have been avoided. And as the temperature soars, our seniors should take extra safety measures so that they will not succumb to heat-associated health issues.
Summer is almost upon us and the kind of heat that it poses a genuine threat to our elderly. They should be continuously monitored to make sure that are using the air conditioners properly, especially when the sun is at its peak. A number of factors contribute to heat-related issues on the very vulnerable senior populace. Unlike young adults, the elderly are unable to properly regulate their body temperature. Insufficient hydration and hot temperature can easily complicate this issue, as well as high humidity and the presence of pollutants in the air. All these can complicate the elderly physical response to heat.
That is the reason why they have to be educated in the ways to prevent the health issues associated with the summer heat. Here are a few tips on how to help the seniors protect themselves from the heat this summer:
• Drink lots and lots of fluids, preferably water. Loss of internal water can speed up the body’s heating process during warm weather which may result in many problems including heat stroke.
• Take plenty of rest. Resting cools the body down. When taking long walks during hot weather, make sure that you bring drinking water and make occasional stops in shady spots to cool the body down.
• Take cool baths.
• If there is one, stay inside air-conditioned facilities. If you still want to go outside, you might as well visit an air conditioned shopping mall.
• Always wear light clothing during summer.
• If you have nothing important to do, you might as well remain indoors especially during the hottest parts of the summer day which is usually between 11 am to 3pm.
• Refrain from engaging in vigorous activities under the summer sun.
• Never hesitate to seek your doctor’s help whenever you’re not feeling well.
Heat stroke can happen anytime and it is considered as the gravest heat-associated illness. If not checked by the doctor immediately, it may lead to death or permanent disability. It is a genuine medical emergency. The signs of an impending heat stroke include very high body temperature, rapid pulse, throbbing headache, nausea, and confusion.