When it comes to the summer months here in Florida, how are you planning to protect your senior loved ones from the heat? Unfortunately, Older Americans tend to be particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses. Accordingly, an extremely hot summer can lead to many seniors suffering from heat stroke and dehydration. Recognizing the common warning signs of heat-related illnesses, however, can help keep your senior loved ones safe and allow them to enjoy the summer. To help you protect your senior loved ones this summer, let us share with you a few safety tips and warning signs to watch out for.
First, it is important to understand that dehydration can affect any of us, at any time. Even on an overcast or cooler day, it is still possible to suffer from dehydration if proper precautions are not taken. Encourage your senior loved one to stay indoors or in the shade as much as possible. Further, the best way to avoid dehydration is to frequently drink fluids and protect your skin from the sun. Ensure that your senior loved one is drinking plenty and often and is not exposed to the sun for long periods of time.
Next, do you know how to spot the warning signs that your loved one is suffering from a heat-related illness? While no two people are alike, there are a few common symptoms that manifest if an individual is suffering from heat stroke or dehydration. Hot, flushed skin, dizziness, nausea, headaches, a strong and rapid pulse, a slow weak pulse, and confusion are all common symptoms. If your senior loved one appears to have a few of these symptoms, we encourage you to check his or her body temperature. A body temperature of 105 degrees fahrenheit or higher is usually considered fatal. Unfortunately, without taking reasonable precautions, the body’s temperature can rise quickly.
If you do suspect that your senior loved one is suffering from a heat-related illness, seek medical attention immediately. While waiting for medical professionals to arrive, try to keep your loved one as cool as possible by making sure he or she is out of the shade and fanning him or her. It is essential that you do not attempt to get your loved one to drink fluids. Contrary to popular belief, this can actually cause his or her symptoms to worsen.
We know that summer is often a fun and relaxing time for all. It is important, however, to be aware of the symptoms of common heat-related illnesses to help ensure that your senior loved one is able to enjoy his or her summer.