Tips to Prevent Overheating in the Elderly

The summer seems like an innocuous season for senior citizens—a time for chatting outdoors, grilling and playing in the sprinklers with your grandchildren. But summer heat and humidity create serious dangers. The body’s response to abnormal temperatures slows as we age, and many older adults suffer from chronic diseases that weaken their ability to self-regulate. Here are some common sense strategies to minimize the chances of overheating injuries.

Stay Hydrated

Heat and sun dry out the body: so rehydrate. Encourage everyone in your orbit, especially young children and older family members, to drink water irrespective of activity level. Minimize alcohol, caffeine and sugary beverages, as they can all dehydrate you further.

Stay Cool

Avoid the heat, when possible, and make liberal use of air conditioning. When outside, dress for the weather. Light, breezy clothing helps the body regulate temperature in the heat. Those susceptible to heat injuries should be monitored for signs of exposure: many elderly people have a reduced ability to sweat effectively. Cool (but not shockingly cold) showers can also revitalize.

Rest

Poor circulation can create temperature regulation issues. To that end, at-risk seniors should avoid strenuous activity in the summer heat, take breaks and drink plenty of water. Just because someone does not feel hot, does not mean there’s no danger. Heat stroke and heat stress can be surprisingly asymptomatic.

Suspect someone’s suffering from heat stress? Bring her to a shaded area immediately. Contact medical personnel, and keep her hydrated with drinking water. Lower body temperature by fanning and applying a damp cloth. Avoid subjecting her to an extreme temperature change, as doing so can shock the system.

If a senior you love has been hurt due to negligence or carelessness, our Washington D.C. personal injury attorneys can help you obtain justice and fair compensation. Get in touch with our offices for more information.

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