Everyone needs to be aware of the effects heat can have on people, especially seniors. Individuals should always be couscous of the sun and heat especially during the summer, when heat exhaustion and heatstroke are most common. Make sure you stay in good health this summer by being aware of the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
Health Conditions that may aid in getting heat exhaustion and heatstroke:
Age: Adults over the age of 65 and children 4 and under, adjust to heat at a slower rate than others, putting them at a higher risk.
Certain Health Conditions: People with diabetes have a higher risk of hospitalization do to a heat related illness. Health condition that causes or has side effects of fevers, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, obesity or underweight high blood pressure, mental illness, sickle cell traits, and alcoholism.
Medication: These include diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers, stimulants, some heart and blood pressure medications, and medications for psychiatric conditions.
Talk with your doctor if you have questions about any increased risks you may have.
Heat exhaustion can occur following extended periods of time in high heat, causing dehydration.
Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion:
- Dark-colored urine (a sign of dehydration).
- Muscle cramps.
- Pale skin.
- Profuse sweating.
- Rapid heartbeat.
Treatment for Heat Exhaustion:
Most importantly, get out of the heat, relocate to an air-conditioned room if at all possible or find shaded shelter.
- Drink lots of cool water, DO NOT drink caffeine or alcohol.
- Remove as much clothing as possible.
- Take a cool bath or shower.
- Place a cool rags over your forehead, chest and neck.
If symptoms don’t subside contact your doctor IMMEDIATELY. Heat exhaustion, when untreated or treated improperly, can lead to heatstroke.
Heatstroke, like heat exhaustion, is caused by long periods of time spent in hot weather. Certain medications, heath problems and high humidity can aid in causing heatstroke. Strenuous activity and an excess amount of clothing during times of high heat can be extremely dangerous.
Symptoms of Heatstroke:
- High body temperature.
- A lack of sweating.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Flushed skin.
- Rapid breathing.
- Racing heart rate.
- Muscle cramps or weakness.
Treatment of Heatstroke:
Heatstroke treatment centers on cooling your body to a normal temperature to prevent or reduce damage to your brain and vital organs. To do this, your doctor may take these steps:
- Immerse you in cold water.
- Pack you with ice and cooling blankets.
- Give you medications to stop your shivering.
Always Best Care of Boulder County will provide support to you and your loved one during times of transition. Always Best Care of Boulder County can help with education and care for loved ones physical and emotional well-being. To develop a care plan please call Inga at Always Best Care of Boulder County (720)494-8407.
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Written by Andrea Gonzales