Did you know that if you are thirsty, your body is already actually 2% more dehydrated? This means when you are trying to regulate heat, your body becomes weaker than you are aware! This is especially difficult for seniors as their bodies are more fragile to temperature and dehydration.
The following article will share some of the things you can do to help your loved ones reduce the chances of a heat stroke during times like summer where temperatures can significantly rise.
Heat Can Be Damaging
The heat can be not so friendly to everyone. In fact, seniors can be seriously affected by it than younger adults. Researchers have shown many more fatalities associated with heat within the US especially for elderly people.
How is this possible? Well, with old age comes many vulnerabilities which are likely due to reasons such as not being able to breath properly, medications which increase dehydration, being in a warm environment, wearing too many clothing layers, limited salt intake and underlying conditions of health that make it more difficult to adapt to.
How to Reduce Heat Stroke in Seniors
With the right approach, there are ways elderly people can still enjoy their time outside during the summertime, safely. The following are some tips they should consider when outdoors.
- Try Not to Exercise Outdoors
During the summer time, especially in a humid place like New York, it can be extremely hot and exercising outdoors can really put a damper on one’s health. When exercising, try to opt for something with lower intensity, or rather, work out within a cool air-conditioned environment.
- Try Not to Go Outside during Peak Hours
When going outside, try to aim for hours before 10 AM or after 5 PM. The time in between that period may have extreme heat as it is the peak hours of the day, making the intensity dangerous for seniors.
- Note the Heat Index
Sometimes humidity can take the heat to the next level, even when temperatures do not seem so high. That’s why it’s so important to take into consideration the heat index which shows what the weather really feels like. Note that when the heat index is high, the moisture makes the body’s cooling more difficult to complete.
- Drink Lots of Water
It’s important to drink liquids, even if one does not think they are thirsty to avoid dehydration. Doctors usually recommend the average of 8 glasses of water a day. If the elderly person can not drink so much water, try to give them smoothies, juices or other liquids that can keep them hydrated. However, liquids such as alcohol and caffeine might cause more harm than good, so if possible stick to water for hydration instead.
- Be Aware of the Signs
Monitoring your body is essential when considering heat strokes in the summer. When the temperatures rise, note how you personally feel. Are you experiencing chest pain, dizziness, headaches? Maybe you’re feeling nauseous or your heart is beating fast. These are all warning signs of dehydration and can lead to heat exhaustion. Call your doctor if any of these symptoms occur.
- Stay inside.
Inside is usually cooler than being in the outdoor summer heat. Even if there is no air-conditioning, try to find a place for your loved one to be safe and cool. Maybe this can be a public mall, a library or a restaurant? Public indoor places are usually air conditioned and make it easier to stay cool in the summer.
- Wear the right clothes.
When it is warm outside, try to avoid dark, heavy colors that attract the summer heat. Try to stick to light colors and loose fitted clothes that allow room for breathing. Be sure to wear a hat and sunglasses outside as that also prevents heat stroke. By wearing the right clothes, it can go a long way for the seniors who have health conditions making them vulnerable to the heat.
For more information on how you can keep your loved ones safe and reduce their chances of a heat stroke within the summer or how we can assist them with their daily living activities, be sure to contact our offices today!