It’s official: summer is upon us. For some, that means weekends relaxing at the pool while feasting on an ice cream cone. Yet, for many seniors, summer is a time to be especially cautious of heat-related illnesses. This is scientifically known as the collective term hyperthermia. According to the National Institutes of Health, hyperthermia occurs whenever someone’s “body temperature is elevated to 104 degrees.”
As temperatures rise, it’s imperative to do everything as caretakers to prevent hyperthermia. Whether you are a family caretaker or a home health aide, here’s what to do in case your loved one is suffering from a heat-related illness!
Assess for Heat Stroke
If you suspect your loved one is dealing with a form of heat-related illness, the first thing you’ll need to do is assess whether or not they’re suffering from heat stroke. If they have lost consciousness, are suffering from a throbbing headache, or displaying no sweat whatsoever: these are tell-tale signs of heat strokes. If your assessment has led you to this conclusion, call 911!
Get Them Out of the Heat
One of the best ways to combat a possible case of hyperthermia is to remove the elderly individual out of the hot environment. If outside, you’ll want to move the person into the nearest air conditioned building. If you cannot get them inside, a shaded area will suffice. The goal is to put the individual in an environment that will foster effective cooling down.
Replenish Lost Fluids
One of the best ways to cool down is to hydrate! If a senior citizen is suffering from hyperthermia, an easy remedy is to cool down their interior through liquid hydration. Water, electrolyte-dense sports drinks, or fruit based juices are all great options. The goal is to choose something that will replenish any lost liquid.
For this reason, seniors should avoid any desiccant fluids. Drinks like coffee and alcohol may serve a chemical purpose, but they’ll just end up robbing the elder individual of their liquid!
Apply Cooling Compresses
After removing the individual out of the hot environment and allowing them to replenish their fluids, the next step is to help them cool down via cooling compresses. This could be a wrapped ice pack, or simply a wet towel. This cooling apparatus should be applied to areas where the blood passes closest to the skin. Armpits and wrists are an acceptable area. The goal is to use these surface areas to efficiently foster cool blood circulation.
If your loved one is at risk of a heat stroke, they may benefit from treatment with a chiropractor, like a chiropractor from Acupractic Natural Healing Center at Eastowne. Call today to make an appointment.