Elderly Heat Stroke and Exhaustion

The summer season brings with it many great things, and it carries a lot of joyful moments, however, it can also be dangerous because of the heat that comes with it and that sometimes, especially during the last few years is unbearable. During such hot and dry periods, it is of immense importance that you find a way of how you can refresh yourself and stay hydrated. Hydration allows your body to regulate the temperature and keep it in the boundaries of normal. Keeping yourself hydrated will help you avoid the risks of heat illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

How everything changes as we get older?

When we are young, it is easier to keep our bodies hydrated even during the periods of extreme temperatures, however, as we age, our bodies gradually become weaker, and they experience a series of changes, lose many functions and become prone to various illnesses. The same is with the ability of our bodies to regulate temperature efficiently. It decreases with the time as the result of the weakening of some of our primary heat regulation mechanisms. Seniors do not sweat as much as younger adults, and they store fat differently that further complicates the control of heat in the body which leads to the increase of the internal temperature of their bodies as the outside temperature rises, especially if they are exposed directly to the sun or other extremely hot environments. That is why the risks of suffering from heat illnesses are higher as we get old and why older adults suffer from heat stroke or exhaustion more often than younger people during the summer.

What should you know about heat illnesses?

There are many things and factors that can lead to the development of these illnesses. They can occur as the result of dehydration, or as the consequence of some chronic illnesses such as conditions with blood circulation and various heart diseases. Sometimes the cause can be overdressing, the change in diet, lack of air circulation, hot climates, the use of certain medications, etc.

Heat stroke occurs when the internal temperature of our bodies rises much faster than it can be lowered by natural ways. It can set within ten to fifteen minutes, and it includes symptoms such as high body temperature, confusion, an absence of sweating, seizure, and coma. Heat exhaustion, on the other hand, involves excessive sweating, weakness, tiredness, headache, dizziness, cramps of muscles, nausea, vomiting or fainting and these symptoms may often be the signs of the impending severe heat stroke. You should call for help as soon as you notice some of these symptoms, or go to a cool place with an air conditioning and drink cooling fluids or have a cold bath if that is possible.

How to prevent them?

The crucial role in preventing heat illnesses plays hydration. Keep yourself hydrated as much as possible. Avoid alcohol beverages that are known to cause dehydration and drink water and juices regularly after every meal and throughout the entire day. Try to stay in climate-controlled environments during the peak hours of the day. Dress appropriately for the hot weather and avoid strenuous activities.

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15 Dec 2016