The Heat is ON
Summertime for a senior adult with multiple chronic conditions means new challenges for caregivers to add to their radar. Family Physician and Epidemiologist Dr. Ozzie Ahmed remind us to look out for these summertime hazards:
- Heat exhaustion comes before heat strokes often referred to as heat cramps where the body is starting to overheat caused by water depletion or salt depletion. Both can have very serious effects leading to confusion, fainting and more serious condition
- In fact, heatstroke symptoms mimic many other minor health complaints but when they occur together can spell real trouble. Watch out for headaches; nausea; mental confusion; hot, dry and red skin alternating with chills and sweating; rapid breathing and a temperature above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Heatstroke can cause organ damage.
- Some high blood pressure medications can predispose a person to dehydration. This is particularly important in seniors with a reduced thirst sensation. Caregivers should keep an eye on the number of fluids ingested and eliminated especially in very hot conditions.
- Lastly, sun Exposure – wear sunscreen to reduce the likelihood of sunburns when outdoors. Senior adults are at a higher risk of skin cancer.