With Summer in full force, it is important to not only check in on older adults in the community, but to also be aware of medical emergencies that can arise due to extreme heat. One such medical emergency is a Heat stroke. Below are answers to questions people often have about this medical condition.
What is Heat stroke?
Heat stroke is a serious medical condition whereby your body overheats - typically from overexposure to high temperatures. Untreated heat stroke can result in damage to your brain as well as other organs. Symptoms often include a high body temperature of 103°F or higher, hot, red, dry or damp skin, dizziness, nausea, etc. It important that medical attention be immediately obtained if you notice any of these signs in yourself or a loved one.
Why are older adults more susceptible to heat stroke?
Factors like a deteriorating central nervous system, which inhibits the body's ability to regulate its temperature, as well as certain medications and chronic illnesses can increase the likelihood of having a heat stroke.
What can be done to keep older adults cool?
Utilize the Air-conditioner, wear loose-fitting and light clothing, stay hydrated as per doctor's recommendations, reduce strenuous activity and refrain from eating hot food and drinking alcoholic beverages.
In the event there is no A/C in the home or it is insufficient, consider visiting a local "cooling center." Cooling centers are air-conditioned facilities that are open to the public, during heat waves, specifically for the purpose of offering reprieve from the heat. Local community centers, libraries and senior centers are examples of cooling centers. To find a local cooling center in New Jersey, click here; for New York City, click here.
Aside from the aforementioned suggestions on keeping cool, do you have any other home remedy-like suggestions that have helped keep you or a loved one cool? I would love to hear what has worked for you. Please share below.
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Christine M. Valentin
As a licensed clinical social worker, I help individuals caring for a loved one reduce feelings of anxiety, depression and stress. This blog is meant to share with you, many of the suggestions I recommend to many family caregivers. Sign up to receive them directly.