June 12, 2013

GC2423_02Handling the heat becomes especially important for older persons and infants as the summer temperatures soar.

“We can all reduce the risk of heat stroke or other serious problems by following a few precautions,” says Bonnie Smith, Administrator of Graceworks at Home, which provides skilled and personal care for older persons in their homes in southern Montgomery County and Bethany Village senior living community in Centerville, Ohio. “The threat of heat stroke should be taken very seriously by persons over age 50, but infants, athletes and outdoor workers are also at risk.”

In extreme heat, high humidity, or vigorous physical exertion under the sun, a person may not sweat enough to maintain a safe body temperature. When that happens, the body may overheat, sometimes to 106 degrees or higher.

Here are tips to reduce the risk and enjoy the summer:

  • Limit time outdoors to mornings before 10:30 a.m. or evenings after 5:30 p.m.
  • Use sun block with at least SPF 15 when going outdoors, reapply every 2 hours
  • Wear cool clothing: light colored and loose lightweight clothing to help in maintaining the normal body temperature.
  • Wear a hat to protect your head from the sun
  • Use air conditioning to cool your home, or other ventilation equipment to circulate the air
  • Eat light, small, frequent meals, include salads in your diet
  • Reduce strenuous activities
  • Keep hydrating, water intake should include 4-8 glasses a day
  • Check in on seniors daily during hot days

Symptoms of heat related illness:

  • Headaches, nausea, weakness
  • Body cramps, rapid pulse
  • Fatigue, fainting
  • Irritability
  • No sweating or heavy sweating

If you observe signs of heat exhaustion or dehydration, immediately move the affected senior to the nearest cool shade and provide with ventilation and hydrants like cool juice or water. You can help increase the cool by applying cold compress and calling for medical assistance as soon as it is necessary.

For more information on care for yourself or a loved one in their home, please contact us at 937-436-7700 or graceworksathome@graceworks.org. Health at Home, a subsidiary of Graceworks at Home, is certified by Medicare and accredited by The Joint Commission.

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