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  • Summer can be a scorcher for our Seniors


    We finally made it! After what felt like an interminably wet and rainy Spring, the dog days of Summer have finally arrived. For most of us, we can take respite from the heat in air-conditioned offices during the day. But for some of our Seniors, who may be cash constrained, and relying on more traditional cooling methods, June through August can prove to be a dizzying and dangerous stretch where avoiding heat-related illness surges to the forefront.

    The two main culprits are ‘Heat-Exhaustion’ and the more serious ‘Heat-Stroke’. While both can be classified as a medical emergency, it’s the latter that poses the greatest risk.

    Heat stroke happens when the body overheats, typically to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. It’s a serious condition and requires immediate emergency treatment.

    If it’s not treated, heat stroke can damage the brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles. Plus, the longer it takes to get treatment, the higher the risk for serious complications or death.

    6 ways to prevent Heat Stroke in seniors

    1. Understand your older adult’s health conditions

    Check with their doctor to find out if medications or treatments, like diuretics or low-salt diets, could affect they way their bodies regulate temperature.

    Ask if there are special things you need to do if you see signs of heat stroke. For example, common remedies like sports drinks or lots of water could be harmful for some seniors.

    2. Identify Heat Stroke symptoms for fast treatment

    Print this one-page handout from the Arizona Department of Health Services so you’ll know how to to spot the signs of heat stroke.

    If your older adult shows signs of overheating, use the handout to evaluate symptoms and respond immediately.

    If they are overheating, call 911 or their doctor to get professional medical attention as soon as possible. In the meantime, try to cool them down using the treatment methods listed.

    3. Encourage water intake and dress for the weather

    Remind your older adult to drink water throughout the day. A body that’s hydrated feels cooler and regulates temperature better. But avoid water that’s too cold, it could cause cramps.

    Convince them to wear as little clothing as possible and make clothes as light, loose, and breathable as possible. If they feel chilly, give them a bath towel to use as a light lap blanket.

    4. Stay cool at home

    Keep the house as cool as possible by using inexpensive solar curtains to block out sun and heat.

    Since heat rises, stay on the ground floor or basement of the house. It’s best to avoid the hotter, stuffy upper floors.

    Buy an indoor air conditioning unit (there are some under $150). Or, contact a local air conditioning store or chain store like Rent-A-Center to find out if you can rent one.

    5. Stay cool outside the house

    If the house is too hot, you may need to go somewhere else to keep your older adult cool and comfortable.

    · Senior-friendly places to find air conditioning:

    · Relative or friend’s house

    · Coffee shop or restaurant

    · Shopping mall or stores

    · Public library

    · Senior center or city recreation center

    6. Use caution with electric fans

    Electric fans can trick the body into thinking it’s cooler than it actually is and can do more harm than good, especially for older adults.

    The CDC recommends using electric fans only when the temperature is below 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Above 90 degrees, use an air conditioner to cool down.

    A reminder to check on Seniors and neighbors as temperatures rise. It’s a great way to connect within your community and keep your cool at the same time!

    Source: DailyCaring 

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