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Prevent Heat Illness In Older Adults

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The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for Arizona and Southeast California. The warning forecasts temperatures of 110-120 degrees. Excessive heat increases the chances of heat-related illnesses and death. It’s considered especially dangerous for anyone working outside during the day, the elderly and those without air conditioning.

Of course, these symptoms can emerge whenever it’s hot, and in any part of the country. Keep a close eye on seniors in your care when the temperatures rise.

What are the signs of a heat-related illness?

Early Symptoms

  • Headache
  • Thirst
  • Muscle Cramps

Serious Symptoms

  • Weakness
  • Skin that is cool to the touch
  • A rapid but faint pulse
  • Nausea and fainting

Severe Symptoms

  • Hot and red dry skin
  • Rapid but strong pulse
  • Unconsciousness

What can you do?

  • Stay hydrated. Even if you will be indoors, increase your water intake and limit the intake of alcohol and caffeinated beverages that dehydrate you. Some medications dehydrate you, too; if you are taking prescription drugs, adjust your water intake accordingly.
  • Wear weather-appropriate clothing made of lightweight fabric in light colors. If you will be outside, wear a hat in addition to sunscreen.
  • If you will be outdoors, take frequent breaks in the shade or indoors.

What if you or your elderly relative don’t have AC?

It’s important for those at risk, especially children and the elderly, to remain in air-conditioned indoor spaces during an excessive heat wave.

If a heat-related illness goes untreated, it can be fatal. Monitor the elderly closely and make sure that any other caretakers know how to prevent heat exhaustion and illness.

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