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How to Avoid Elderly Heat Exhaustion

Marketing Intern | Shield HealthCare
08/11/15  8:55 AM PST
Avoid Elderly Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is the condition caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures (especially when combined with high humidity or strenuous exercise) that often results in heavy sweating and a rapid pulse. Heatstroke, a life threatening yet completely avoidable issue, is often preceded by heat exhaustion. People who are over 65 years old are more likely to succumb to both of these conditions. It is important especially in hot, summer months and in environments prone to high temperatures to not only be aware of heat exhaustion, but also to have an understanding of effective methods to treat it. Here are a few methods to avoid and treat heat exhaustion:

Prevention

  • Stay inside. If you know that at certain times of the day your area will experience intense heat, consider avoiding the heat altogether.
  • Wear smart clothing. Of course, staying inside won’t always be a viable option. If you do have to venture outside, be sure to wear lightweight, loose, and light-colored clothing. A hat to shade your face may be useful as well.
  • Stay hydrated. Often, dehydration heavily contributes to heat exhaustion. Be sure to take in plenty of water, juice, or other hydrating liquids. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks, as these actually dehydrate you faster.
  • Know the signs. If you begin to experience headache, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, or fainting, be sure to get help immediately. These are the warning signs for those at risk of heat exhaustion.

Treatment

  • Get to a shady area. Obviously, an area covered in shade is cooler than one that is not and being in such an area can help to lower one’s body temperature.
  • Cool down as fast as possible. Getting in a cool tub or taking a cold shower can help lower body temperature quickly, reducing the risk of heat stroke. If that option isn’t available, reduce body heat by drinking water, applying an ice pack to the back of the neck and moving out of the sun.
  • Seek medical assistance. If no method of cooling down works, seek medical attention immediately.

References:

Heat Exhaustion (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved July 29, 2015 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heat-exhaustion/basics/definition/con-20033366

Hyperthermia: A Hot Weather Hazard for Older People (2003, June 11). MedicineNet. Retrieved July 29, 2015 from http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=23619

Heat Stress in Older Adults (2015, July 13). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved July 29, 2015 from http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/older-adults-heat.asp

7 Tips for Avoiding Elderly Heat Stroke & Exhaustion (2015, April 21). A Place for Mom. Retrieved July 29, 2015 from http://www.aplaceformom.com/senior-care-resources/articles/elderly-heat-stroke

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