Protect relatives from heat-related issues
Of the 8,000-plus heat-related deaths reported annually in the United States, 36 percent are among those age 65 and older, according to a Centers for Disease Control Heat-Related Illness Survey. Hospitalizations for heat-related symptoms increase for those over 85.
Everyone wants to ensure their loved ones are comfortable and safe during the hot weather, but checking up on neighbors and non-relatives can go a long way toward stemming the tide of heat and dehydration deaths. Griswold Home Care of Montgomery/Delaware/ Bucks Counties offers the following advice:
• Perform an air conditioner check. Air conditioning is the top protection against heat-related illness. If the home isn’t air conditioned, buy a room unit or encourage your loved one to go to a public place during the hottest hours of the day, like a library or senior center.
• Avoid dehydration. Non-alcoholic beverages will replace the body’s salts and minerals released from sweating. Put a glass of water in every room, and encourage sipping from them throughout the day. Frequently drinking small amounts is the best way to stay hydrated. Check your loved one’s urine; light yellow means they’re getting enough to drink; darker yellow means they’re not. Other symptoms include very dry skin, dizziness, rapid heartbeat or rapid breathing.
• Know the signs of heat exhaustion. Too much heat can cause heat exhaustion or, even worse, heat stroke. Heat exhaustion happens when you become dehydrated and your body is unable to replace the fluid and electrolytes it has lost. The signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, nausea and feeling lightheaded and faint.
If body temperature continues to rise, it can result in heatstroke, a serious medical condition. Signs of heatstroke include fainting, a body temperature above 104 degrees F, confusion, flushed skin, irritability and acting delirious. If you’re around someone with signs of heat exhaustion, call 911.