Heat stress is a family of heat-related illnesses including heat rash, heat cramps, heat fainting, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Heat stroke is the most serious, and is often a culmination of the other heat illnesses. Seniors are more at-risk for heat stroke, and when left untreated, can be deadly. With the summer months nearing, Palm Beach home care provider, Home Care Assistance, provides family caregivers with information about heat stroke so they can identify and prevent the condition from affecting a senior loved one.
What is Heat Stroke
Heat stroke occurs when the body temperature rises rapidly and is unable to cool down. Heat stroke can cause the body temperature to rise to 106 degrees within 10 to 15 minutes. Signs of heat stroke include red hot skin but no sweating, throbbing headache, nausea, dizziness, confusion, high body temperature, chills, rapid but strong pulse and may even include hallucinations.
Why Are Seniors More Prone to Heat Stroke
Seniors are more prone to heat stroke because aging changes how the body regulates its own temperature and limits sweating. This, combined with low salt diets, other medical conditions such as kidney disease, medications that reduce sweating, overdressing, lack of access to air conditioning, and dehydration put seniors at increased risk. Seniors who live in hot climates or in places without good air quality are also most likely to be affected and require safe measures.
How to Decrease Risks
Sweating is the body’s natural way of regulating its temperature. Because seniors sweat less, other measures must be taken to ensure safety. Of primary importance is hydration. Seniors are recommended to drink water or juice with every meal and to sip them in between meals throughout the day. Seniors and their caregivers should also watch for other signs and symptoms and act quickly to address them. Along with hydration, spending time in air conditioning or in shaded areas with good air flow and fanning the body can be beneficial proactive steps to reduce risks.
It’s important that seniors have support and assistance with daily tasks as the hot summer months approach. If you feel that your loved one could use a helping hand with preparing meals, housekeeping, transportation, or other tasks, reach out to Home Care Assistance and ask about our plans for hourly and live-in home care for Palm Beach seniors. We offer complimentary, no-obligation consultations and are more than happy to answer questions. Call 561.429.8292 today.