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Hot Weather Dangers For The Elderly

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Hot Weather Dangers To Watch For

There are certain health ailments that older adults tend to be more vulnerable to, due to changes that occur in their immune systems that are age-related and potential effects of injuries or chronic illnesses. These changes in health can often be helped by Houston elder care services. It is also very important to keep a close watch on them whenever there is an increase in temperature too quickly identify as well as treat any of the following heat-related conditions:

1. Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion

If the core body temperature of your loved one gets too high, they could be at risk for getting hyperthermia, or also called heat exhaustion and in more serious cases heat stroke.

For both of these conditions, it is very important to immediately get the elderly person out of the heat. If they are in the sun, move them over to the shade, or preferably help them get indoors. Take any extra clothing off so that they can cool down faster. Also get them to drink as much water as possible, or a hydrating sports drink containing electrolytes. If there are any indications that your loved one might have heat exhaustion, if there is no improvement in their symptoms in one hour then call a doctor. In the event of a heat stroke, you either call 911 or take our loved one to the emergency room immediately. To help quickly lower their body temperature, if possible try to submerge the person in a cool bath. Or use a cool, damp cloth on them while they are sitting by a fan.

For safety purposes, their home should always be maintained at a reasonable temperature. Use air conditioning and fans whenever possible, and ensure your loved one remains hydrated all day long, even when only resting inside. Even when not out directly in the sun it still is possible to overheat.

Also, seniors shouldn’t ever be left unattended locked inside of a car for long periods of time. The National Weather Service reports that it can only take a couple of minutes for the heat to reach dangerous levels inside of a vehicle, even when parked in the shade or the windows on the car are rolled down.

2. Sun Poisoning and Sunburn

Assisting Hands Houston | Hot Weather Concerns For Your EldersIt is a very painful experience to get sunburned and if it gets bad enough can be extremely dangerous. According to South Dakota State University, compared to younger adults seniors are a lot more sensitive to the sun’s effects.

Serious sunburn may cause fevers, blister, and peel. According to Cleveland Clinic, skin is damaged at the cellular level by sunburns, which may result in significant damage along with bruising and skin cancer eventually. The difference between sun poisoning and sun sunburn is that usually sun poisoning also includes nausea, chills, and bumps that might itch.

In order to treat sunburn, there are over-the-counter solutions such as aspirin that you can try, or topical ointments like aloe vera gel. However, if your loved one is feeling fatigued or sick after they get a sunburn, you should make sure they see a doctor right away.

In order to prevent sun poisoning or sunburn, a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has a high SPF needs to be used. It should be applied 20 to 30 minutes at least before going outdoor and then every two hours that they are outside after that. Even on a cloudy day, sunscreen should still be applied, since harmful UV rays are still able to penetrate through cloud cover.

Your loved one needs to avoid being outside in the sun from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m. when it is at its peak. If they have to be outside during those hours, or at anywhere they will be exposed to the sunlight for long periods of time, then sunglasses should be worn, along with long-sleeved clothing and wide brim hats so that their skin is protected from being in direct contact with the sun for prolonged periods of time. When outside during the day, taking periodic breaks and resting in the shade is very important. If their skin starts to look pink or red or they begin to feel hot, then they should go inside.

There are also certain medications that can make seniors more sensitive to the suns effects that normal. Speak to their doctor or check their prescriptions to find out if any of their medications need to be watched.

3. Dehydration

When it is hot outside it is easy to not get enough fluids. During the summer heat, your loved one is going to tend to sweat more, and if they don’t make a conscious effort to drink more water they can quickly become dehydrated.

Whenever an individual becomes dehydrated, it also becomes more difficult for all of the systems of their body to function properly. Symptoms include the following:

  • Experience muscle cramps
  • Have headaches
  • Have dark-colored urine or not urinate enough
  • Have a sticky or dry mouth
  • Feel thirsty

If there is severe dehydration, symptoms will also include shallow and rapid breathing, confusion, dizziness, dry skin and rapid heartbeat.

If you act fast then dehydration is easy to treat. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from dehydration, then make sure they drink a sports drink that is fortified with electrolytes or water. If it is difficult to drink water due to dehydration making them feel ill, then they might choose gently sip on water or suck on ice cubes instead.

If symptoms are not relieved by consuming more liquid, or if at any time your loved one ends up losing consciousness, then take the person to the emergency room or call 911. Prolonged, serious dehydration can be fatal. Don’t wait for dehydration signs before you start to ensure that your loved one drinks enough water. You should be proactive and make sure they have access to lots of hydrating fluids to help them stay hydrated and cool during the summer.

Dehydration can also be exacerbated by other illnesses. If the elderly person is sick and has diarrhea or vomiting also, then drinking plenty of fluids is very important.

Have Fun All Summer

With all of the different outdoor activities that are available to enjoy, no one should be forced to stay indoors and hide away from the sun all summer long. You just need to ensure that all safety precautions are followed – such as providing lots of water, applying sunscreen and making sure your older loved one spends time in the shade to get a rest from the sun – so that they can stay healthy and safe all summer long.

For more information please call us today or contact Assisting Hands Houston!