New England summers can get hot and sticky. Just watching the temperatures spike on the weather maps can make you want to hide out in an air conditioned room. At the same time, summer presents a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy cookouts, the beach, and poolside fun.
While taking pleasure in summer activities, it is important to be aware of the health issues the heat can raise, especially for the elderly and chronically ill. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion can be major risks. If you are a senior, or a caregiver, learn the symptoms and how to prevent them.
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body is exposed to high temperatures for a prolonged period of time and becomes dehydrated. Common symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- muscle cramps
- pale skin
- profuse sweating
- rapid heartbeat
Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke if not cared for. This is serious. About 370 deaths per year occur from heat stroke in the U.S. The body can lose its ability to control its temperature, especially in older individuals. When the body reaches temperatures greater than 105 degrees, coupled with complications involving the central nervous system, it is considered heat stroke. Symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Loss of consciousness
Although it would be nice, having central air in our homes is not as common in New England as it is in other parts of the country. So what steps can you take? If you are experiencing some hot weather where you live, help your loved ones (as well as yourself) take the following precautions to prevent heat related illness.
- Keep your house cool by keeping the shades down and the sun out.
- Turn on the fans.
- Avoid using appliances that give off heat like the oven or dryer if you can.
- On those super hot days, hang out at the public library or take a stroll through the mall where they have air conditioning.
- Drink A LOT of water and juice, but avoid alcohol and caffeine. It is important to replenish your body with liquids.
- If you feel like you’re getting too warm, take a cool shower or bath.
- A spray bottle full of cold water can also be refreshing.
Are you feeling concerned about an elderly loved one who lives alone? New England Home Care specialists, MAS Home Care, can provide services to help make sure they are staying healthy and cool. Contact MAS Home Care today!