PROTECT AGAINST HEAT STRESS THIS SUMMER

Jennifer Carland, RD, CDN

Summer is here and hot weather can be dangerous. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion can be a serious problem, especially for the elderly. Drinking fluids is an important way to prevent dehydration. Consult with your doctor if you have a medical condition that restricts your fluid intake.

 
 
 

Risk Factors for Heat-Related Illness:

  • With increasing age, our bodies take longer to respond to changes in temperature.
  • Chronic medical conditions like heart and lung disease, being overweight or obese, and mobility problems can change your normal body responses to heat.
  • Some medications, such as those for Parkinson’s disease, diuretics, psychotropics, and tranquilizers may impact your internal temperature control by preventing the body from sweating or by impacting fluid balance.

Warning Signs:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Muscle weakness or cramps

When to Seek Medical Attention:

  • Hot dry skin, but NOT sweaty skin
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fainting
  • Shortness of breath
  • High body temperature

How to Keep Safe in Hot Weather:

  • Drink eight to 10 cups of water each day.
  • Wear lightweight, light colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Stay indoors or out of direct sunlight during the hottest times of the day.
  • Avoid exercise when it is hot outside.
  • Stay cool! Use fans or air conditioners to keep air cool. Consider taking cool baths or showers.

Although heat stress can be dangerous it is preventable. Remember to stay hydrated and keep cool! If you are at high risk and have concerns, contact your doctor.