Summer weather brings lots of good things like rays of sunshine and the ability to be outside more. However, it can be challenging for all of us to stay cool during the summer, especially the senior population. The risk of heat exhaustion is even greater for older adults because as we age, our bodies are not able to regulate temperature as effectively as when we were younger. Chronic health conditions and certain medications can also have a significant impact on the body’s ability to regulate temperature. It is important to be aware of heat exhaustion signs and to take steps to keep your elderly loved one safe in summer weather.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion
- Chest Pain
- Cramps in the Stomach, Arms or Legs
- Heat Rash
- Excessive Sweating
- Rapid Heartbeat
If an individual is experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion and is not able to cool down, their condition could progress to heat stroke. Heat Stroke is an emergency in which the body’s temperature rises above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Follow the steps below to help protect yourself and your older loved ones against heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Heat Safety for Seniors
Drink Lots of Fluids. It is important to drink lots of water throughout the summer. Our bodies lose moisture more quickly on hot days, so it is vital to remain hydrated and replace those fluids. Be sure to drink plenty of water, fruit, and vegetable juices, even if you aren’t feeling especially thirsty. Try to avoid drinking alcoholic or caffeinated beverages on hot days because they can actually increase dehydration.
Limit Physical Activity. Try to take it easy on very hot days and decrease the number of strenuous activities you are doing. Limiting your physical exertion will help you remain cool and hydrated. If you do have busy days planned, be sure to take breaks and drink water throughout the day. Try to keep time outside short, stay in the shade, and avoid crowded places.
Dress Appropriately. Wear cooler clothing items on hot days. Stick to short sleeve shirts that are loose-fitting and try to wear light colors which are cooler than dark colors. Avoid putting on socks and wear lighter shoes as well. You can also wear hats for an added layer of sun protection.
Apply Sunscreen. Before you head out to the beach or the pool, don’t forget to apply sunscreen! Not only will it protect you from burns, but it will also help your body regulate heat properly.
To learn more about how we can assist you or your loved one during the hot summer months, please call your local Homewatch CareGivers location today.