Senior Housing Connection

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Staying Safe in the Hot Weather

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

During the summer months we are all at risk for developing heat-related conditions.Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions, such as cardiopulmonary conditions and high blood pressure, are at increased risk for heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and heat cramps.

Be aware that some medications such as diuretics (water pills), those for Parkinson’s Disease, tranquilizers, and psychotropic medications, can increase your risk for heat related illness.Air conditioning is the strongest protective factor against heat-related illness.

Here are symptoms to watch for and actions to take:

Heat exhaustion:

  • Symptoms- heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, and fainting.
  • Management- Move to cool spot; drink cool, non-alcoholic beverages; take a cool shower or sponge bath.

Heat stroke:

  • Symptoms-high body temperature (Above 103* F.); red, hot, and dry skin with no sweating; strong, rapid pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; and unconsciousness.
  • Management- Call for immediate assistance while someone begins cooling the victim.Move person to cool or shady spot, cool the person rapidly- spray or sponge with cool water, do not give alcohol to drink.

Heat cramps:

  • Symptoms- Muscle pain or spasms usually in the abdomen, arms or legs.
  • Management-Seek medical attention if no improvement in 1 hour, stop all activity and sit quietly, drink clear juice or sports drink, do not return to strenuous activity for several hours.

To reduce your risk of heat related illness, do the following:

  • Wear lightweight, light colored, and loose fitting clothing.
  • Wear a hat.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol.
  • Do not lie or sit in direct sunlight.
  • Do not participate in strenuous physical activity.
  • Eat cooler foods such as cold plates and salads.
  • Use your air conditioning.

Enjoy the summer and stay safe!