Senior At Home Care-Heat Precautions for the ElderlyPosted on July 19, 2013 by ECR Louisville in Blog, Caregiver Education, Home Care Non-Medical, Home Health Care (Medical), Stroke /Stroke Symptoms
Seniors are especially prone to complications related to exposure to excessive heat. Now that we are in the midst of our summer weather, seniors and their family and friends should be aware of the risks to older citizens during excessively hot weather. You may hear that a “heat advisory” or “excessive heat advisory” has been issued by the national weather service. But exactly what does that means?
A Heat Advisory is issued when there is a heat index of 105 degrees Fahrenheit but less than 115 degrees Fahrenheit for less than 3 hours per day or nighttime lows above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. An Excessive Heat Warning is issued when the heat index is at least 105 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 3 hours per day for 2 consecutive days, or when the heat index is more than 115 degrees Fahrenheit for any period of time. General symptoms of heat-induced illness include: • increased body temperature • extremely hot and dry skin • strong, rapid pulse rate • throbbing headache • dizziness • vomiting • nausea. Additionally, seniors should be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat Exhaustion symptoms include: • heavy sweating • weakness • skin cold, pale and clammy • weak and shallow pulse • vomiting and fainting possible The following are symptoms of Heat Stroke:
• high body temperature (106 degrees or higher)
• skin hot and dry •
rapid and strong pulse
*Heat Stroke is a Severe Medical Emergency* Seek help immediately.
Older people don’t adjust well to extreme heat. This is due to increased heat production and a lessened ability to dissipate heat. Medications can also cause an older adult to have trouble tolerating heat, therefore causing the heart to become overworked in its efforts to assist in the body’s cooling system. It’s a good idea for friends, neighbors, and relatives to check in on seniors during extreme temperatures. Here are some tips for seniors dealing with the heat. • Drink plenty of water. Drink 2-4 cups of fluid per hour. If you are going out, take a water bottle with you. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. • Eat smaller, lighter meals • Keep your home cool with air conditioning or a fan. If you don’t have air conditioning or a fan, go to a place that does such as your local senior center, mall, library, movie theater, or place of worship. • Wear loose fitting, lightweight clothing. When outside, wear a hat and sunscreen • Avoid exercise or exertion, especially during the hottest parts of the day. • Be aware that some of your medications may cause greater sun sensitivity. Consult your doctor about your medications and the heat