Elderly: Be cautious in the heatSince summer begins this week, I thought it would be a good time to remind all of us about heat stroke.
By: By Mary Krueger, senior liaison, Alexandria Echo Press
Since summer begins this week, I thought it would be a good time to remind all of us about heat stroke.
Approximately 371 deaths occur in the U.S. every year due to heat stroke. Many other deaths occur from other causes as a result of high temperatures. Nearly half of all victims are 65 years and older.
Prolonged heat exposure takes a toll on the body, compromising the ability to cool itself. Older adults are most susceptible to this due to the fact that an older body is less efficient in reacting to heat.
Remember, fans are not protective against heat-related illness when conditions reach 90 degrees and 35 percent humidity. It is usually the humidity that we need to be concerned about in Minnesota.
Seniors are less likely to use air conditioners than younger folks, thus increasing the risk of heatstroke.
These are some of the factors that increase the risk for heat-related illness:
• Advanced age.
• Isolation or social circumstances.
• Heart, lung or kidney disease.
• High blood pressure or diabetes.
• High level apartment living.
• Long term residency care.
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body gets too hot. The symptoms include thirst, weakness, dizziness, profuse sweating, cold and clammy skin, normal or slightly high temperature.
Heatstroke occurs when the body temperature reaches 105 degrees within minutes and can cause severe brain damage. Symptoms include confusion, faintness, strong and rapid pulse, dry and flushed skin, lack of sweating and bizarre behavior.
Stay hydrated! Drink lots of water.
Limit your exposure to outdoor and indoor heat. Spend time in air conditioned buildings.
Take a cool shower or bath.
Eat light, healthy foods.
Do not use your stove or dryer.
Use cool towels on your face and neck. Try to use a hand held fan. Keep a spray bottle with cold water handy to cool off with. Freeze water.
Stay in shaded areas if you are outside. Dress in light fabrics, preferably cotton.
Open windows on opposite sides of your house at night to promote air flow. Keep your curtains drawn during the day.
Remember, all heat-related illnesses are preventable! We can all make a difference. Check on the elderly and disabled frequently. You could save a life.
Live Life to the Fullest event
Reminder: Live Life to the Fullest event on Wednesday, June 30 at St. Mary’s Education Center. Includes a free meal at noon.
Registration begins at 9 a.m. Sessions include SWAT team demonstrations, butterfly gardening, investments, planning for the years ahead, massage and stress relief, DNR speaker, the blues – not a natural part of aging, consumer and credit card debt, pre-need funeral planning, and prescription medications – use, misuse and abuse.
Call Mary at (320) 762-3047 or Kathy at 762-2320 for reservations.