Seniors at highest risk for heat stroke and heat-related illness

Seniors at highest risk for heat stroke and heat-related illness

In the wake of recent heat waves, seniors are at the highest risk for heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses. The risk of heat stroke is particularly high for the elderly with chronic illnesses.

Hyperthermia is a condition of the overheated body that is unable to control its temperature. This is manifested in the form of heat fatigue, heat-related dizziness, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion.

Risk factors of hyperthermia include:

  • Dehydration
  • Poor blood circulation
  • Reduction in sweat production as a result of aging
  • High blood pressure or other health conditions requiring a low-salt diet
  • Heart, lung, and kidney disease
  • Being extremely overweight or underweight
  • Alcohol consumption

Seniors living with heart disease or diabetes are advised to stay in cool, air-conditioned areas, such as libraries or malls, when the temperatures are rising.

The warning signs of heat stroke include:

  • Fever
  • Confusion
  • Strong, rapid pulse
  • Dry, flushed skin
  • Lack of sweating
  • Feeling faint
  • Staggering
  • Coma

If you begin to notice these signs of heat stroke, you should try to cool down as quickly as possible. This means moving to the shade or an air-conditioned area, applying cool compresses to areas like the wrist, armpit, or groin, and drinking water or apple juice.

Also, read Bel Marra Health’s article: Heat rash causes, symptoms, and home remedies.



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