Heat and Health

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Heat and Health

Did you know older people are in danger of heat related-illnesses, even when the temperature is less than 100 degrees? Fall may be around the corner, but as Arkansans, we know summer temperatures are not going away any time soon. Family, friends and loved ones over the age of 60 are more at-risk than their younger counterparts to experience heat-related illnesses.

The morning sun shines bright on a field of sunflowers.

Here are a few tips to ensure your older loved ones and friends minimize their risk of heat-related illnesses like hyperthermia.

  • Stay up to date on the weather and check the forecast before going outside. During the summer and early fall, southern states experience multiple heat advisories, which is a time older people should avoid outdoors and spend time in air-conditioned areas.
  • The hottest part of the day is 3 p.m., so plan outdoor activities before 11 a.m. and after 3 p.m. When you do go outside, make sure to wear light-colored clothing. Darker colors will absorb the sun’s rays and increase body heat.
  • If windows receive direct sunlight, pull the shades or close the blinds, especially if you don’t have air conditioning. Open your windows at night if you don’t have air conditioning.
  • Drink at least eight glasses of water a day to stay hydrated. Dehydration during the warmer months of the year increases, which can lead to hyperthermia.

 

Hyperthermia is when your body’s temperature is grossly above normal. There are multiple stages of hyperthermia, including heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Signs of hyperthermia include:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness and fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Red skin
  • Lack of sweating
  • The feeling of being cold when outside

 

If anyone, especially older people experience any of the above symptoms, they should stop what they are doing, move to a shaded or cooler area and seek medical attention.

At CareLink, we work year-round to make sure older people in Central Arkansas and their families have the services they need to stay independent and safe at home. This includes checking on our homecare and Meals on Wheels customers during visits. We are also affiliated with senior centers throughout our six-county area where older people can visit to stay cool, as well as facilitate an Urgent Needs fund that receives donations to purchase essential items like air conditioners and fans.

Our programs are made possible through the support of our volunteers and donors. If you want to get involved with CareLink, click here to learn about our volunteer opportunities for services like Meals on Wheels, senior companions, and volunteer ombudsman.

If you are interested in donating to our programs like the Urgent Needs fund, click here. One-hundred percent of your gift is dedicated to the program of your choice.

Posted by Meredith Hale at 8:55 AM