Summer is well on its way, and when the temperature heats up it’s imperative to provide your elderly patients with a little extra care. Below are two common illnesses seniors may be at risk for during the warmer months, and suggestions on how to avoid them.
According to the CDC, heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness and can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided. Heat stroke occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature.
Small increases in temperate can shorten the life expectancy for seniors, so limit outdoor activities and instead choose locations that offer cool atmospheres.
It is imperative to seek medical attention immediately if you believe a patient is experiencing a heat stroke. Warning signs may include:
- An extremely high body temperature (above 103ºF)
- Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)
- Rapid, strong pulse
During the warmer months elderly patients are at a greater risk for dehydration because their bodies do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature. They also lose the ability to conserve water as they age, so hydration is priority.
Steps to stay hydrated:
- Offer fluids regularly
- Keep water accessible and available
- Encourage patients to drink 8 ounces of fluid with medication
Heat Up Your Educational Plan This Summer!
TCG CHEX eLearning offers a lineup of specialty courses that discuss caring for the elderly, including our extreme weather course, which provides an overview of heat related safety issues.