The weather has gotten warmer, so it’s time to start thinking about how the heat can affect your older family member. It’s not just uncomfortable for seniors to be too hot, it can also cause serious health problems. Knowing about heat related illnesses and their symptoms can help you to avoid them and alert you to when your loved one needs medical attention. Below are some heat-related illnesses all family caregivers should know about.
Heat exhaustion occurs when a person sweats a lot, causing them to lose a great deal of water and salt. This usually happens when they are physically active in hot weather. Losing fluids impacts circulation and disturbs brain function. Heat exhaustion can happen to anyone, but those with heart, lung, or kidney conditions are especially susceptible. Another factor that increases the risk of heat exhaustion is being on a low salt diet. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
- Sweating heavily.
- Skin that feels cold and clammy and looks pale.
- Pulse that is fast and weak.
- Cramping muscles.
- Feeling tired or weak.
Heat cramps also happen because of a loss of fluid and salt. In addition, the body also has too little potassium and magnesium. Heat cramps cause symptoms like:
- Heavy sweating.
- Muscle pain or spasms.
- Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is the most dangerous kind of heat related illness. It happens when the older adult is in the heat for a long time or when heat is very intense. As a result, the body becomes incapable of cooling itself because the part of the brain that is responsible for cooling functions malfunctions.
Symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Body temperature of 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
- Skin that is hot, red, and dry or damp.
- Pulse that feels fast and strong.
- Loss of consciousness.
Sunburn occurs when skin is exposed to too much sun. Getting sunburned often increases the risk of skin cancer and other skin problems. Sunburn is easily preventable by applying sunscreen and staying out of the sun during peak hours. Symptoms of sunburn include:
- Red, painful skin that feels warm to the touch.
Elderly care can help prevent heat related illnesses in your aging relative. An elderly care provider can keep an eye on the older adult when they are outside on hot days to make sure they don’t overexert themselves. Elderly care providers can also make sure they drink plenty of water to keep them cool and prevent dehydration.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED-ONE IS CONSIDERING ELDERLY CARE IN BUCKEYE, AZ, CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE. CALL TODAY (623) 748-3301.