Temperatures all around the U.S are breaking records this week. Even up here in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where our Canadian Pharmacy head office is located, we’ve been sweltering with temperatures in the mid 90’s. A couple of months ago it was -37 in February, so it’s safe to say that we’re enjoying this heat wave and making the most of our always too short summer.
As great as a hot summer can be, it’s also dangerous, and especially for seniors who are more at risk for heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Seniors often don’t adjust as well to extreme temperatures; as well those with chronic medical conditions may see their bodies be more at risk to higher temperatures. Prescription medication can also majorly impair the body and how it regulates its temperature.
Common symptoms of heat exhaustion include feeling thirsty, feeling giddy, weak or uncoordinated. Some sufferers may feel nauseous, sweat profusely and / or experience a cold and clammy feeling on their skin. More serious than heat exhaustion is heat stroke. Heat stroke can be fatal, thousands of seniors every year around the U.S are killed by heat stroke every summer. A person experiencing heat stroke, may exhibit symptoms such as confusion, bizarre behavior, faintness, combativeness, a strong rapid pulse, lack of sweating and possibly even becoming comatose.
Some signs to watch for in either yourself, or an elderly family member to judge if the heat is getting to be too much:
• Heavy sweating
• Muscle Cramps
• Nausea or vomiting
• Skin: may be cool and moist
• Pulse rate: fast and weak
• Breathing: fast and shallow
If you, or a loved one ever has any of the following symptoms of heat stroke it’s best to immediately contact a medical professional.
• An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
• Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
• Rapid, strong pulse
• Throbbing headache
Follow these tips to lower your risk in high temperatures:
• Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages. (If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink when the weather is hot. Also, avoid extremely cold liquids because they can cause cramps.)
• Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.
• If possible, seek an air-conditioned environment. (If you don’t have air conditioning, consider visiting an air-conditioned shopping mall or public library to cool off.)
• Wear lightweight clothing.
• If possible, remain indoors in the heat of the day.
• Do not engage in strenuous activities.
Because many seniors live alone, it’s also best to check in on them during heat waves to make sure they are staying cool and out of danger. Enjoy the summer, but stay safe.