heat exhaustion

Heat Exhaustion and How to Avoid it for Older Adults

The heat of summer is in full swing and it is all you can do to stay cool. It is important for everyone to avoid heat exhaustion, and that is especially true for older adults.

Heat stroke and heat exhaustion

It is important for older adults to be mindful of overheating during hot weather. As you age, your risk of suffering from a heat stroke and heat exhaustion increases significantly. The risk increases because older adults are more likely to become dehydrated, some medications may make you more susceptible to heat exhaustion, and your body does not adjust to heat as easily as you age.

According to the CDC, at least 36 percent of the heat-related deaths that take place in the United States happen with people who are 65 years of age or older.

Staying cool may sometimes seems like a simple concept, but other times it may take a conscious effort to avoid heat exhaustion. The following are tips that can help people of all ages stay cool.

Tips to stay cool

  • Stay hydrated. Make sure that you are drinking plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine since they dehydrate you.
  • Make your meal light. Avoid heavy, hot meals and try out cold meals.
  • Keep your feet cool. The temperature of your feet can affect the temperature of the rest of your body. Try sitting with your feet in cool water.
  • Wear lightweight clothing. You should wear light colors and thin layers of clothing to help you stay cool.
  • Eat cool snacks. Snacking on something cold like a popsicle or frozen grapes can help fend off the heat.
  • Visit places with AC. If you are trying to avoid running up your utilities, you can visit public places like a movie theater, library, or a shopping mall to help stay cool.
  • Take a cool shower or bath. If the heat is getting to be too much, run a cool shower or bath that is just below your body temperature to cool down.
  • Keep your house temperature low. You can lower your home’s temperature by closing blinds and curtains during the hotter parts of the day while also running the AC.
  • Use a cool washcloth. If a fan isn’t cutting it, get a washcloth wet with cool water to put on your face or neck to cool you down. You can even stick it in the freezer or refrigerator for a minute or two to get it extra cold. 
  • Use ice packs. While it is important to not apply an ice pack directly to your skin, you can use ice packs with towels or blankets to help cool you down.

Staying cool during hot weather is crucial. Don’t let yourself get caught off guard with heat exhaustion. Know the warning signs and be able to take the necessary precautions.

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