Too Hot to Handle: Heat Strokes in Seniors


We are heading towards the middle of July which means summer is in full swing. You may have noticed that the temperature is beginning to really pick up. It is also getting a lot more humid outside. These hot, humid conditions can be dangerous to those who go out in them. One condition many fall victim to in the summer is heat strokes. Heat strokes can be extremely dangerous, especially for your aging loved one. Heat strokes tend to affect people who are over the age of 50. It is important for you to know what a heat stroke exactly is. Learn how heat strokes in seniors happen and what you can do to prevent to keep you and your aging loved one safe this summer.


What is a Heat Stroke?

You may be asking yourself a heat stroke is. Well, a heat stroke is one of the most dangerous forms of heat-related injuries. This injury can result in you damaging parts of your brain or other internal organs. You should know what a normal stroke is to better understand what happens during heat strokes in seniors. A stroke occurs when blood flow to your brain is abruptly cut off. This triggers your brain cells to die because they lack an essential amount of oxygen. You lose certain abilities controlled by your brain and can lose some muscle control during a stroke. Strokes tend to change the way your body ability to operate and could possibly kill. The main difference between a stroke and a heat stroke is the onset of them.


What Are the Causes?

This question is pretty easy to answer but also needs some explaining. The temperature itself causes you to have a heat stroke. However, it’s not necessarily just the temperature. It’s also the amount of time you spend at that temperature and what you are doing. Heat strokes usually occur because you have been outside in the heat for too long. So, your body isn’t able to regulate its temperature when you are exposed to heat for a long period of time. This causes you to overheat and would eventually cause a heat stroke. However, you could also experience a heat stroke because you’ve spent time in the sun being dehydrated, using alcohol, or overdressing. It’s important for you to make sure your aging loved one isn’t putting themselves at risk in the heat.


What Are the Symptoms?

You can easily prevent a heat stroke if you are aware of the symptoms. Be on the look-out for cool, moist skin accompanied by goosebumps in the heat. If you begin to sweat heavily purely just from the heat you may be in danger. Faintness, dizziness, and fatigue are all other symptoms you need to keep an eye out for. Some people may experience a change in their pulse. If you notice your get weaker and more rapid, you should take action. Muscle cramps and nausea also accompany heat strokes. Another possible sign that you are suffering from heat exhaustion is headaches. You should act immediately if you notice any of these signs while in the heat with your loved ones.


Who is at Risk?

While a heat stroke can happen to anyone, there are people who are at a greater risk t experience one. Age is a big risk when being exposed to heat. Yong children under the age of 4 and adults older than 65 have a greater chance of being injured by the heat. Certain drugs and medications may increase your likelihood of being in danger. Your body weight also affects your chances of being injured from the heat. Those who are obese have a higher chance of being hurt by the heat. Sudden increases in the temperature and a high heat index also increase your risk. It is suggested that you take precautions when the heat index is above 91 degrees Fahrenheit. You should take safety measures when going into the heat if you are affected by any of these factors.


How Can I Prevent It?

There are many ways that you can easily prevent a heat stroke. The best way for you to avoid a being injured from the heat is to stay hydrated. Drinking fluids will help you sweat and maintain a stable body temperature. You can also wear clothing that is loose and lightweight. This will help your body stay cool properly. Protecting your body from sunburn can also help stay safe in the heat. Sunburn interrupts your body’s cooling process. You can also avoid working in the heat during the hottest parts of the day or limit your time spent outside in the heat. Both are good options to stay safe in the heat. Above all, you need to be cautious in the heat. Taking caution when in high temperatures will help prevent you or a loved one from being injured.


How to Treat It?

You should immediately call 911 if you or a loved one is experiencing a heat stroke. However, you can use these tricks to treat it at home while emergency respondents arrive. First and foremost, you should take the person suffering to a cool place where they can rest. Next, you should find cool fluids to drink. Only drink water or sports drinks because alcohol and soda an add to dehydration. If it’s possible, use a pool, cold shower or bath, or towels soaked in cold water to help lower the body’s temperature. Loosening or removing clothing can also help you cool off. You could also immerse yourself in cold water to help lower your body’s temperature. Ice packs can also help you cool. Apply ice to your neck, groin, back, and armpits to cool off. However, you should call 911 before doing any of these.


Stay Safe in the Summer Heat

You should take all necessary precautions when dealing heat strokes in seniors with this crazy summer heat. Your loved one may need assistance to be able to combat the heat and stay safe this summer. Caregogi offers hundreds of quality care providers in your area. Care providers can help your loved one with activities of daily living and can help keep them safe and cool. Don’t let your aging loved one suffer from the heat this summer. Provide them with care their way.

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