Because of the extreme heat wave nationwide, we will again address heat dangers and precautions. Extreme temperatures are dangerous for everyone but it is especially so with young babies, young children, and the elderly. As we age our natural “temperature controls” are not as efficient as they once were. Actually, it is not uncommon for a senior citizen to feel cold in extreme heat
With age the temperature sensors become less sensitive, but age is not the only factor, certain chronic illness medications and various chronic diseases can affect the controls and mechanisms as well.
A heat wave can hit quickly, not allowing the body to adjust, and if the wave is continuous, the body does not have the opportunity to recuperate.
Heat stroke is by far the worst problem with severe temperatures, and dehydration is one of the main causes of heat stroke. Heat stroke can be, and often is, fatal. Even overheating without dehydration can be life threatening because various processes of the body are disrupted and/or shutdown.
Seniors should not rely solely on their perception of temperature. For seniors sweating is not a dependable natural means of cooling, as they may suffer from conditions such as hypohidrosis or anhidrosis where they sweat very little or not at all.
Simple Overheating Practices Include:
- Dress in light colors and thin airy clothes
- Stay out of the sun and heat as much as possible
- No exercise or long walks in the heat
- Drink Plenty of liquids. Water alone is not sufficient. Oral rehydration with added salt, for the electrolytes, such as Gatorade can be purchased anywhere.
- Rest in the shade or an air-conditioned room
- Use water and other means of cooling when there is an absence of sweating
- Do not travel to hot climates during the summer
- Be aware of early symptoms of heat related illnesses such as cramps, exhaustion, nausea headaches and other symptoms that come on suddenly, and seek treatment immediately.