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Preventing Heat Stroke In Older Adults

Jun 7, 2018 by Gregg Gammello

Non-medical home health aides can help seniors from having a heat stroke this summer

Heat stroke, also known as sunstroke, is a medical emergency caused by prolonged exposure and/or strenuous activities in high temperatures. It results in the body temperature rising to about 104 Fahrenheit or higher. This can cause permanent damage to the brain and other internal organs and even lead to death.

Since the senior population is especially at risk of developing heat stroke and heat-related injuries, home health services aim to educate and encourage older adults to include certain heat stroke prevention techniques in their daily routine.

For this reason, home health experts compiled the following list of effective ways that can help seniors prevent heat stroke and stay safe in the upcoming summer months:

  • Take extra precaution with medications as some of them may interfere with the body’s ability to stay hydrated and regulate heat.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes, brimmed hats, and make sure to apply ample sunscreen while outdoors.
  • Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Try to avoid unnecessary physical activities in scorching temperatures.
  • Alcohol can affect your ability to adequately regulate body temperature, so it should be avoided.
  • Stay inside between 10am and 4pm when the temperatures are most intense and make it your routine to go out in early morning or evening.
  • If you decide to go out during the day, stick to air-conditioned locations such as shopping malls and restaurants.
  • Keep your home air-conditioned.

Heat stroke can still occur in some seniors even with every precaution taken. Common heat stroke symptoms include a headache, nausea, fainting, rapid breathing, confusion or agitation, and absence of sweating with flushed dry or hot red skin. If you notice your senior loved one is showing one or more of these symptoms, home health professionals suggest you take the following steps:

  • Immediately move your senior mom or dad to a cooler place, preferably with some shade.
  • Unbutton or remove their shirt and apply cold water to their skin.
  • If your loved one is aware, encourage them to drink some water.
  • Remain by your parent’s side and closely monitor their body temperature with a thermometer. You need to continue to cool them down until their temperature is reduced to at least 102 F.
  • Call emergency services.

When heat stroke occurs, timing is of the essence. A quick response and adequate treatment can reduce damage and save lives. By adhering to these home health advice, your loved one can stay safe and maintain their health this summer. 

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