09 Jun Seniors Susceptible to Heat Related Illnesses
This summer, we are seeing record-breaking temperatures all across the country. In places like Florida and Arizona, they are equipped to deal with the heat. Almost every building has air conditioning. In New York and New England that’s not necessarily the case. Our homecare consultants see quite a few seniors trying to get by with fans during the height of the summer heat.
The heat isn’t just uncomfortable. It can pose a serious health risk. According to the CDC, personal factors that may put you or your loved ones at greater risk of suffering a heat-related illness include:
- Age (those over 65 are at high risk)
- Heart disease
- Mental illness
- Poor circulation
- Alcohol use
- Reliance on certain prescriptions
The most common heat-related illnesses include:
- Heat stroke: the most serious heat-related illness, it occurs when your body can no longer control its temperature. Your temperature will rise rapidly (it can reach as high as 106 degrees in less than 15 minutes) at the same time that your ability to sweat breaks down, leaving your body unable to cool itself.
- Heat exhaustion: this can develop after several days of exposure to extreme heat and lack of proper hydration. It can be marked by a number of symptoms, including excessive sweating, paleness and muscle cramps. Your pulse will be fast and weak; your breathing will be fast and shallow.
- Heat cramps: if you sweat profusely, you may be susceptible to muscle spasms, usually in the abdomen, arms or legs, when you engage in strenuous activity. All that sweat will deplete your body of not only moisture but also salt.
- Heat rash: excessive sweating can also irritate the skin, especially in young children. It presents as areas of red pimples or blisters, usually on the neck, upper chest, groin, under the breasts and in elbow creases.
Our home health aides will alert us if any of our clients are at risk. Friends for Life Homecare Service encourages you to reach out and check on any seniors you know who may be at risk of heat-related illness. That old fan in the attic is not enough to keep anyone cool in extreme heat.