Understanding Heat And Its Risks For Seniors

Posted on: 29 June 2016

Summertime is the best time of the year for many people, even when they have to fight days and sometimes weeks of extreme heat. Anyone can become overheated and become the victim of heatstroke or heat exhaustion, but older people have to be more careful to avoid these conditions. If you are a senior, particularly one living alone, you need to recognize the symptoms and take precautions to protect yourself from the heat.


As you age, your body simply cannot handle the heat the way it used to, especially when the temperature shoots up rather quickly. In addition to natural body changes, you may also have medical conditions or take medications that impair your ability to endure the heat. You may not sweat as much as you once did, or your body temperature may tend to fluctuate. When you were younger, you might have been able to mow the lawn during the midday with no ill effects, but as a senior, you are simply courting trouble by doing anything outside during the peak heat hours in the summertime. Schedule all your outdoor activities during the early morning or early evening hours. Also, dress appropriately in loose, light clothing and a protective hat. Have a water bottle nearby at all times. Take frequent breaks to cool down because you can become overheated very quickly.


If you develop a serious headache, hot and dry skin, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, and disorientation, you may be experiencing heat stroke or at least heat exhaustion. If possible, you need to get into a cool environment as soon as possible and have someone spritz you with cool water. If you are alone, try sitting in front of the air conditioner or the open refrigerator. If you feel  faint, have a seizure, or develop an extremely high temperature, you need to seek medical attention. If you have other medical conditions such as diabetes or heart problems, you should check in with your doctor after experiencing problems, even if you recover quickly. Heat stroke can be fatal, so do not hesitate to call 911 if you notice symptoms.


With luck, you will quickly recover from the immediate symptoms of heat stroke, but you may also take nearly a year to get back to normal. In fact, you may experience long-term organ damage. Your brain, kidneys, and lungs can all be permanently impaired. If you are older, you may already have some of these issues. Heat stroke can exacerbate and complicate your current medical conditions. As you age, being too hot is not simply uncomfortable: it's unhealthy.

Once you have suffered from heat-related conditions, you may be more susceptible to them in the future. Heat stroke can take out a twenty-year-old, so if you are an older person, you need to be particularly careful. You should understand the symptoms and take steps to cool off immediately. Seek medical attention if necessary. The best course is to protect yourself from summer's extreme heat. For more information, call a facility like Broadway Medical Clinic, LLP .