Recent heat waves pose as much of a health risk for your aging parents as do winter storms or hurricanes. It is not unheard of for people of all ages to succumb to extreme heat. There are many ways to keep yourself, and the elderly people in your life, safe and protected during a heat wave.
What are the dangers of a heat wave?
Heat waves can be dangerous for anyone of any age, but they are more dangerous for the elderly, babies and young children. As you age, your body is less able to regulate its temperature and the elderly may be more impacted by the effects of the heat than they realize. As the body’s temperature control centers are less sensitive, they may not “initiate the correct cooling mechanisms within the body when it becomes overheated” and this can lead to heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses. Medications can also lead to insensitivity to heat fluctuations.
Here are a few tips on how to cool off when the thermometer rises:
- Stay out of the sun.
- Close the curtains in the home to prevent the sun from heating up the interior.
- Run the air conditioner or fans throughout the house. Open windows slightly to create a cross breeze.
- Stay indoors and don’t plan on walking or exercising out of doors until the sun goes down and the temperatures drop.
- Dress in light colored and lightweight clothing.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Take a cool shower or place cool water compresses on your body to help cool it down.
Taking measures to avoid heat exhaustion or heat stroke is very important and can mean the difference between early intervention and a serious medical concern.