When the body overheats and/or there is a malfunction in the ability of the body to cool itself, then heat exhaustion or heat stroke can occur. It can be deadly if left untreated.
Seniors are especially at risk!
- With age, the body does not adjust as well to hot weather.
- Sweating helps get rid of body heat, but seniors sweat less.
- Seniors may not feel thirsty even when their body is low on fluids. They can easily get dehydrated.
- Some diseases make seniors get hot faster: heart disease, diabetes, poor circulation
- Some medicine can make seniors more at risk for heat exhaustion
Warning Signs Include:
- Slow of fast heart beat
- Skin that is cool and wet (clammy)
- Pale or gray skin color
- Feeling confused
- Feeling thirsty
- Feeling weak or faint
- Muscle cramps
- Dark yellow or orange urine
- Upset stomach or throwing up
What you can do for yourself and your loved ones:
- In hot weather, wear loose, light cotton clothes. Don’t wear a lot of layers of clothing.
- Always have a drink of water or juice at hand. Take sips often. Don’t wait to feel thirsty. You may not feel thirsty even when your body needs more water. Try not to drink a lot of coffee, beer, wine, or other alcohol. It pulls water out of the body.
- Get the air moving in your house. Open windows. Use a fan or use an air conditioner.
- Shower or bathe in cool water.
- Don’t take salt pills.
- Avoid excessive yard work during hot weather.
- Fix more salads and cold foods so you won’t add as much heat to the house.
- Stay indoors on very hot days. If you house is hot, go to the movies, library, or shopping mall where it is cool. If you must go out when it’s hot, do the following:
o Drink 8oz of water before you leave the house. Drink 6 oz of fluid for every 20 minutes while you are out in the heat.
o Wear a hat with a wide brim
o Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 (or higher)
- Talk with your doctor if the heat makes you sick. Never stop taking your medications without discussing to your doctor.