Heat stress happens when the body is unable to cool itself off and keep a healthy temperature. While everyone can experience this, given that people are at the mercy changing weathers and seasons, there’s one particular group who’s more at risk: the oldies.
Elderly people are more prone to heat stress due to a host of factors. If you’re a golden-ager yourself or a caregiver of someone, it’s important to pay attention to these following factors triggering heat-related illness so you can prevent it:
As people age, the body isn’t as efficient anymore as it were when coping to daily stresses. When it’s hot, the skin of an older adult won’t produce sweat and cool off easily like that of a younger person.
Heat stress becomes a problem, and the problem gets aggravated by the fact that older adults who live alone tend to ignore the early signs of heat stress, mostly because they refuse to believe they’re experiencing a health issue. It’s difficult then for medical interventions to happen early on.
If you live alone, don’t underestimate your risk for heat stress. Be honest with yourself as well if you need a companion already. A tell-tale sign that you need one is if you can’t keep up with the chores or your schedule of medications. Take the advice of your son and get a home health aide. If you’re a caregiver, on the other hand, learn about the symptoms.
Keep a cool room temperature in your home. If you see signs of AC breakdown, call experts for air conditioning repair. Salt Lake City, Utah companies offer 24/7 services, so even at the ungodly hours, you can have your equipment checked.
Certain health issues can make the elderly at risk for heat stress. For instance, those suffering from cardiovascular diseases don’t have a healthy heart that can work harder and pump more blood to the skin surface for cooling off.
If you love to work and explore the outdoors, you have to listen to your body more intently to avoid fatigue. As much as possible, avoid intense physical activities under the heat of the sun. Perhaps you can schedule your jogs or gardening in the late afternoon when it’s much cooler.
If you can use a treadmill or keep plants indoors at an airconditioned room, better. If you do get out, wear protective clothing, like caps or hats. Try to avoid alcohol and caffeine too as these can quickly dehydrate you.
There are also medications that can affect the regulation of body temperature. For example, antidepressants and antihistamines target an area of the brain that manages the skin’s ability to produce sweat.
Beta blockers that help reduce blood pressure inhibit the way heart and lungs cope with hot temperatures. Fluid tablets that help kidneys get rid of excess water and salt in the body can leave you dehydrated. Opioids and sedatives can mask the perception of thermal discomfort, so you might be unaware of heat stress symptoms.
Ask your doctor how you can reduce these effects to protect yourself from heat-related illnesses. They may recommend different dosages or alternative medications.
Heat stress is common among older adults precisely because of frail bodies, health problems, and medications. If you have these risk factors, learn the symptoms, listen to your body, and keep a cool room temperature.