For the elderly population, adjusting to the raising temperatures in the summer months are quite difficult. Health problems due to heat that may affect the elderly people are heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
The recent issue of Harvard Health Letter from the Harvard Medical School had given some tips to the elderly people that might make their lives a little easier during the summers.
In addition to heading for the air conditioning, staying out of the sun, and wearing loose, light clothes, the report also suggests the following guidelines.
1. Review your medications
Painkillers, for example, can reduce awareness of the heat. Talk to your doctor about your medications if temperatures are climbing, especially if you're not protected by air conditioning. Older people are also more likely than younger folks to be taking medications that cause fluid loss (and therefore dehydration), including some laxatives, furosemide (Lasix) to counteract water retention, and other diuretics for blood pressure control.
2. Check up on a neighbor
Social isolation is a major risk factor for heat-related illness and death.
3. Stay hydrated
Thirst declines with age, and older sweat glands don't produce as much sweat as they used to. The sweat that is produced tends to contain more salt, and lack of salt in the body can lead to sudden drops in blood pressure.
4. Listen to your body
Muscle cramps, fatigue, weakness, impaired concentration, confusion, lightheadedness, nausea, labored breathing, chest discomfort, and a rapid or erratic pulse can all be signs of trouble. If you feel ill even just a little get to a cool place, drink plenty of cool water, and seek medical help if you don't improve promptly.
Medindia on Heat stroke
Heat stroke: In heat stroke the increased body temperature start causing damage to many organs including the brain and spinal cord and this heat stroke can either be due to exertion or due to heat itself. Exertion heat stroke happens when long exercises are done in warm conditions. Classic heat stroke happens when there's exposure to too much of sun and this usually happens after heat exhaustion. Elderly people and children are prone to classic heat stroke.
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