For older adults, heat stroke can be very harmful; in some cases, it can even be fatal. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to hotter temperatures – underlying health conditions can make them more susceptible to heat exhaustion, and certain medications increase dehydration. This summer, be prepared for the sun by following these tips to prevent adverse health outcomes from excess heat:
Exercise indoors. When working up a sweat, stay in an air-conditioned location; the combination of exercise with hot outdoor temperatures is a recipe for heat stroke. Seniors should avoid overexertion or other strenuous exercises. Instead, choose activities that are comfortable for hot days, like water aerobics or indoor yoga.
Dress accordingly. On the sunniest days, pick an outfit that is suitable for the hot and humid weather. Select clothing that is light-coloured and loose-fitting, like shorts and tank tops, or dresses and skirts. A hat will help provide shade against the sun.
Take a cold shower or bath. Running an ice bath to cool off can quickly fend away heat exhaustion. It will bring down your body temperature to a comfortable and safe level. If soaking in a cold tub is too intense, you can take a sponge bath instead.
Remain inside midday. Temperatures spike during the afternoon because the sun is high in the sky. Stick to early mornings and later evenings when venturing outdoors; the midday heat can be extremely intense. Stay in shady locations when outside so that you are protected from the harsh weather. If you live in a home with improper air conditioning, it’s advisable to spend time in well-ventilated spaces – a fan often isn’t enough during the scorching days of summer. Air conditioned public areas like malls, libraries, and community centres can provide relief from the sweltering heat. During the hottest hours, consider staying in a space with strong AC to avoid heat stroke.
Drink lots of fluids. Combat dehydration by consuming water frequently. Regardless of whether you are thirsty or not, drink fluids often to fend off heat exhaustion. As the saying goes, out of sight is out of mind; try to keep a glass of cold water nearby at all times so that it’s convenient to stay hydrated. Abstain from alcohol, since it will dehydrate your body and make you more susceptible to heat illnesses.
Be aware of heat stroke symptoms. If you begin experiencing any signs of heat illness, it’s important to be aware of it before the problem spirals into a serious incident. These symptoms include nausea or vomiting, dizziness, headache, muscle cramps, or a rapid heartbeat. Any elderly person that notices these sensations should seek medical assistance immediately.
Ask someone to check on you. Living alone as a senior can be dangerous, especially during the summer months. To ensure your safety, schedule regular visits with someone you trust so that you can receive help in the event of a heat stroke. To keep aging loved ones safe, contact Partners for Home; we offer home care services in Winnipeg. Ensure that the elderly are well-cared for and hydrated by trusting the services of professionals.