As temperatures rise this summer, so does the risk of heat stroke. While most everyone is susceptible to heat stroke, seniors have an increased risk due to skin and organ sensitivities. Rockwall, TX, caregivers can help their senior loved ones prevent heat stroke by keeping these five precautions in mind.
1. Cool Off the Car
The risk of heat stroke is quite high for seniors who sit in overheated cars and trucks. Before seniors get into a vehicle on a hot summer day, it’s important to let the AC system operate for a few minutes and let the cool air circulate. The temperature inside a locked car can easily reach close to 200 degrees Fahrenheit in the peak afternoon hours, which can easily trigger a heat stroke.
2. Avoid Hot and Reflective Surfaces
Elderly people should not sit near structures and other things that reflect the sun’s rays. Shiny metallic surfaces such as polished steel and aluminum can redirect solar radiation at people nearby. Seniors should also stay away from concrete, glass and other hot surfaces that might burn their hands or feet upon contact. When relaxing on a summer day, it’s important to select a shaded spot that has plenty of grass, vegetation and other man-made installations that don’t heat up quickly.
3. Monitor Prescription Drugs
There are plenty of prescription drugs that can make the body more sensitive to direct sun exposure. Seniors should consult with their pharmacist or doctor to prevent photosensitivity or photoallergy. Antihistamines, antidepressants and diuretics are common types of medicines that may cause moderate to severe heat stroke among people who spend too much time outside during the summer.
4. Apply Cool or Moist Towels
Heat stroke occurs when the body overheats. Senior citizens can directly apply ice packs or moist towels to the forehead, neck, arms and legs to avoid overheating. Due to increased blood flow from excessive exposure to heat, the head and limbs are likely to turn red and even swell up. To cool off faster, seniors should also have some clean and dry towels to frequently wipe off sweat.
5. Wear Sunscreen
Seniors who don’t wear the appropriate sunscreen on a summer day are vulnerable to sunburn that can ultimately lead to heat stroke. Skin that’s not protected by sunscreen is likely to absorb a lot of heat from direct sunshine. A sunscreen with an SPF 20 or higher can actually prevent dehydration and overheating that triggers heat stroke.
Heat stroke isn’t the only risk for seniors to worry about. You can protect your loved one with help from a trusted provider of elderly care in Rockwall like Home Care Assistance. We provide flexible in-home services that give seniors the vital tools they need to live safely, happily, and healthfully during their golden years. Schedule a free consultation today when you call (972) 722-7833 and talk to an experienced Care Manager.