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Care at Home: Heat Stroke in Seniors

Jun 7, 2018 by Mark McGoldrick

Care at home services are able to help seniors from having a heat stroke this summer

We are getting into some of the hottest months of the year, so, it is understandable that you may be thinking about reducing your older loved one's risk of heat stroke. Whether or not your loved one receives professional or family-based care at home, this is an important topic for all older adults.

So, what exactly is heat stroke? It is actually a very dangerous condition that can even end up fatal in some cases. What happens during a heat stroke is that the body overheats and as it does so, internal organs like the brain, heart or kidneys can become seriously injured.

Seniors have a much harder time coping with heat, which is why they are at a much greater risk of developing heat stroke than their younger counterparts. At the same time, an older body is much less adept at coping with damages and recovers much more slowly if at all, which is why measures should be taken - as part of an older adult's care at home plan - to reduce their risk of developing heat stroke. Some of the best ways to prevent heat stroke are the following:

  • Find out if any of the medication your loved one takes interacts negatively with body temperature.
  • Make sure they are always wearing large hats and comfortable, heat repelling clothing.
  • Hydration is extremely important during the summer months and plays a major role in preventing heat stroke.
  • Encourage your loved one to stick to heavy physical activity outside of the hottest hours of the day, which are between 10pm and 4pm.
  • When the weather is particularly hot, your loved one should stick to establishments with air conditioning.
  • Alcohol consumption should be kept at a minimum.
  • Air conditioning in the home is a major plus.

Your loved one's care at home provider should be able to spot symptoms of heat stroke. They include: nausea, vomiting, breathing challenges, confusion, agitation, abnormal behavior, disorientation, seizures, and the absence of sweating with flushed dry or hot red skin.

Should your loved one display any of the above symptoms, do the following:

  • Move them to an area with shade, take off their clothes and douse them in cold water.
  • If they can, they should drink water at a moderate pace.
  • Monitor their body temperature.
  • Alert emergency responders.

Educate yourself as much as possible about heat stroke. It could save your loved one's life. 

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