Some senior citizens live without or have substandard Air Conditioners
These individuals are at special risk during the summer: May 15 to Sep 30
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Heat Stress in the Elderly
People 65 years and older are more prone to heat stress than younger people for several reasons:
Heatstroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body's temperature rises rapidly, the body loses its ability to sweat, and it is unable to cool down. Body temperatures rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heatstroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.
Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stroke
- Warning signs vary but may include the following:
- An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
- Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
- Rapid, strong pulse
- Throbbing headache
Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids.
Warning signs vary but may include the following:
- Heavy sweating
- Muscle Cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
- Skin: may be cool and moist
- Pulse rate: fast and weak
- Breathing: fast and shallow
Help Protect Elderly Relatives & Neighbors
Help them protect themselves from heat-related stress:
- Visit older adults at risk at least twice a day and watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
- Encourage them to increase their fluid intake by drinking cool, nonalcoholic beverages regardless of their activity level.
Warning: If their doctor generally limits the amount of fluid they drink or they are on water pills, they will need to ask their doctor how much they should drink while the weather is hot.
- Take them to air-conditioned locations if they have transportation problems.
What To Do for Someone With Heat Stress
If you see any signs of severe heat stress, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency.
Have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the affected person.
Do the following:
- Get the person to a shady area.
- Cool the person rapidly, using whatever methods you can.
- For example, immerse the person in a tub of cool water
- place the person in a cool shower
- spray the person with cool water from a garden hose
- sponge the person with cool water
- if the humidity is low, wrap the person in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously
- Monitor body temperature and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101°–102°F
- If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.
- Do not give the person alcohol to drink.
- Get medical assistance as soon as possible.