Healthy Living Blog – Summer Safety for Older Adults
Summer is the best time for enjoying the weather and the outdoors. For some groups of people, the season may worsen their health. In this case, adults above the age of 60 are at higher risk for having heat-related health illnesses.
What are some heat-related illnesses?
- Heat cramps are painful muscle cramps or spasms that result from a lot of exercise and hard work. They can also cause heavy sweating. Stop all physical activity if you begin to experience this. Find a cool or shady place to rest and drink water to cool your body down.
- Heat exhaustion happens when your body stops cooling itself down. You might feel dizzy, weak, nauseous, and tired. You may also experience heavy sweating, muscle cramping, and fainting. For relief, rest in a cool place and drink a lot of water. Seek medical help if you don’t feel better after one hour.
- Heat stroke is caused by untreated heat exhaustion. It is a medical emergency and 911 should be called right away. Some signs are a high body temperature (103℉ or higher), confusion, fainting, dizziness, and nausea. Someone with a heat stroke needs to be moved to a cool place. Try to lower their body temperature with a cool bath. They should not be given anything to drink.
Who is at risk?
- Older adults who live in houses or apartments without fans or air conditioning are at most risk for heat stroke.
- People with chronic diseases — such as heart disease or lung disease — are at most risk for heat stroke too. These people are most likely to be older adults.
- People who drink alcohol.
- People who take several prescription medications or high blood pressure medication. Some medicines may cause someone to overheat.
How to stay safe in hot weather
- Drink a lot of water and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Do not drink alcoholic or caffeinated beverages.
- Stay out of the sun between the times of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Stay in cool, indoor environments with air conditioning such as an indoor mall, a library, or a senior center.
- Do not exercise outdoors when it’s hot outside.
- Dress in loose fitting clothes that are made of natural fabrics such as cotton. Wear lighter colored clothing which absorbs less heat.
- Avoid crowded areas when it’s hot outside.
Families and caregivers can make sure to check up on older adults during hot weather. Provide transportation to cool, indoor places if they live in a house or an apartment with no fans or air conditioning. And, remind them to drink lots of water.
Have questions or curious to learn more? Please reach out to our Health Center and make an appointment to speak with a doctor. AACI provides services in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and many other languages. Call (408) 975-2763 to schedule your appointment today!