Hot Weather Safety Tips For Senior Adults
It’s that time of year when outdoor temperatures can be extremely high. Everyone wants to spend time outdoors enjoying the sunshine, but it’s important to limit the exposure to direct sunlight and high temperatures, especially for senior adults, as much as possible. A study recently conducted found that almost a whopping 40% of heat related deaths in the United States were among adults over the age of 65. This is because seniors are at a much higher risk of developing heat related illnesses. As we age, physical changes occur caused by aging and often chronic health problems, making heat tolerance much lower for seniors. In some instances, certain medications can exacerbate this issue. It’s vital that older adults take precautionary steps to enjoy time outdoors when the temperatures are high to avoid heat related issues from occurring.
Signs That Hot Weather is Causing Illness
Senior adults, even those in assisted living communities, are at a much higher risk of developing heat related health issues when temperatures outside get above 80 degrees F. It’s important that you and your senior loved one are able to recognize the symptoms of health issues caused by overexposure to direct sun and heat to get the proper treatment as soon as possible. The four most common heat related illnesses are dehydration, heatstroke, sunburn, and heat rash.
Dehydration is a condition that occurs when the body loses too much water. It can be a very serious issue if not treated immediately.
– Muscle cramps
If you or your loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, it could be caused by dehydration. Drink fluids like low-sugar energy drinks with electrolytes or water, and seek medical attention immediately if the condition worsens.
Heatstroke is caused by a very dangerous rise in body temperature. In seniors, this rise in body temperature can occur gradually over the course of several days after heat exposure. If left untreated, it can be fatal.
– A body temperature over 104°
– Rapid pulse
– Skin that is red and hot to the touch
– Headaches and dizziness
– Nausea and vomiting
If your senior loved one is showing any of these symptoms after being exposed to heat (even if it’s a few days later), call 911 immediately. While you wait for help to arrive, move the senior to a cool, shady area if possible. Put wet cloths on the senior’s wrists, ankles, armpits and neck to help lower body temperature.
Sunburn may not be a life threatening condition, but it does cause UV damage to the skin that can lead to skin cancer.
Symptoms include skin that is:
– Sore or tender
It’s always important to wear sunscreen every time you are exposed to harsh and direct sunlight. Help your senior loved one apply sunscreen if needed. If sunburn occurs, gently rubbing aloe vera gel on affected areas helps.
A heat rash is a reaction by the skin to sun and hot weather. Typically found in small clusters on the neck, chest, groin, or in the creases of the elbow, it is often confused with pimples. To treat heat rash, bathe in cool water and use a moisturizing soap. Instead of drying off with a towel, allowing the skin to air dry is best. If symptoms persist, try a cool compress or calamine lotion on the affected areas.
Dehydration and heatstroke can occur suddenly and unexpectedly, and become life threatening very quickly when preventative measures aren’t taken. This is why it is important for everyone, especially seniors, to take certain precautions when being exposed to the sun and high temperatures.
At Terrace Ridge, we understand that our residents both want and need time outdoors. From outdoor seating areas to outdoor exercise walkways, everything is carefully planned to keep our residents and their families safe while enjoying time outside. We provide 24 hour on-site staff to ensure seniors in our community are able to enjoy activities year round in a safe and secure environment. Contact us today to schedule a tour.