Heat stroke is a deadly illness for anyone at any age, so imagine how fatal it can be for people over the age of 60. As we age, our bodies are less able to adapt to temperature changes so it might be harder to tell when we are overheating. Certain health conditions or medications might also make it difficult for the body to adjust and regulate temperature.
What Is Heat Stroke?
Heat stroke occurs when our bodies are unable to control their temperature and overheat. With a rapid rise in the body’s temperature, we may be unable to sweat to regulate our temperature and cool down. It happens when the body overheats to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
Heat stroke may result in damage to muscles and major organs and may even result in permanent disability or death. Immediate medical assistance should be rendered because the longer it takes to get help means a higher risk of complication.
Prevention is better than cure, so here are some tips to help you prevent heat stroke.
Ways to Prevent Heat Stroke
Understanding your own health conditions is crucial. It is best to check with doctors to see if there may be any prescribed medications such as low-salt diets or diuretics that could affect the way that your bodies cool down. In addition to this, you might also want to ask about any special considerations you might need. For example, in the event of a heat stroke, older adults might not be able to remedy overheating with sports drinks or by drinking too much water.
Be familiar with the symptoms of heat stroke. Having a printout of an infographic from the CDC such as this one in your home or somewhere easily accessible on your phone may help you identify the problem early. If you feel you are overheating, you can use that information to quickly assess the situation and call for medical help if necessary.
Staying hydrated and dressing appropriately for the weather is important too. Remind yourself to drink enough water throughout the day. Being hydrated helps the body feel cooler and can help to regulate temperature. Clothing should be breathable, loose, and light in hot weather in order to keep cool.
Your home should be as cool as possible. You can use mylar solar curtains to keep heat out of your house. If you are living on the upper floors of your house, you may want to consider moving to the ground floor or basement because heat always rises and higher floors may be hot and stuffy. If you can afford it, consider adding an indoor air conditioning unit to help regulate the temperature in your home and prevent heat stroke.
Be careful with your use of electric fans. Electric fans are fine to use when the temperature is anywhere below the high 90s. It’s best not to use electric fans for hotter temperatures because they may dupe the body into believing that it’s cooler than it is. This may make a heat stroke harder to identify when it’s happening. Rather than using an electric fan, you might want to opt for a shower or bath to cool down.