According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40 percent of heat-related deaths occur in those 65 and older. Statistics also show that more Americans die each year from extreme heat than from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes combined. And yet unlike those natural disasters, heat-related deaths in seniors are completely preventable. It’s as simple as the use of air-conditioning, which is the number one protective factor against heat related illness and death.
Liberty HomeCare & Hospice is working to educate area seniors and caregivers about ways to prepare for days of excessive heat, and understanding the signs of heat exhaustion and stroke.
We recommend that seniors create a personal support network made up of several individuals who will check in on them during times of extreme heat and in an emergency to give assistance, if needed.
Seniors should also follow these safety tips to prepare for days of excessive heat.
– Have a plan for what to do if the power goes out.
– Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. It’s also a good idea to wear a hat.
– Carry water or juice with you and drink continuously. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine.
– Avoid strenuous activity. If you do activity, do it during the morning or later in the evening.
– Stay indoors when possible. If air-conditioning is not available, stay out of the direct sunshine.
Seniors are more likely to take prescription medications that impair the body’s ability to regulate temperature and often suffer from chronic conditions that change their bodies response to heat. At Liberty HomeCare & Hospice, we recognize these challenges and monitor our patients’ situations to ensure heat exhaustion and heat stroke isn’t a factor.
To determine if an individual maybe suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke look for these common signs:
– An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F, orally)
– Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
– Rapid, strong pulse
– Throbbing headache
Liberty HomeCare & Hospice warns that if you witness any of these signs you should move the person to a shady, cooler area and call 911 for immediate medical assistance.