Be Aware of Heat Related Illness

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Visiting Angels Florida West Coast

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Posted on

Dec 04, 2023

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Florida - Sarasota, Bradenton & Charlotte Counties , Florida - Southwest

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Be Aware of Heat Related Illness

Even for seniors who are used to living year round in the Florida heat and humidity, heat-related illnesses can be a real concern. Especially in Florida, with warm weather year round, and humidity always sneaking into the forecast for the day, it is a concern. Heat-related illnesses are something to be aware of, especially for senior citizens. Fortunately, heat-related illnesses are preventable, so being aware of them is a key to avoiding them. Here are some things to keep in mind as you try to steer clear of and navigate heat-related illnesses.

Seniors Can Be Impacted More

Though heat-related illness can strike anyone out in the blazing hot sun or stifling humidity, older adults are often more susceptible for several reasons and do not adjust as well to changes in temperatures as younger people. One of the reasons they may have difficulty is because of chronic illnesses that impact the way they react to heat and impact their perspiration ability. Many senior citizens also are taking medications that can impact their body’s reaction, especially by changing their ability to control their body’s temperature and their ability to sweat.

Be Aware of These Signs

To help avoid the seriousness that can accompany heat-related illnesses, it is important to know the signs that heat may be impacting you negatively, and more than just simply tiring you out. If you notice any of these signs, move to a cool location or in some cases call for medical assistance. Heat-related illnesses can be serious, and even fatal, if not addressed.

  • High body temperature of 103 degrees or more
  • Heavy sweating
  • Headache
  • Hot, dry, red or damp skin, or cold, pale and clammy skin
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Elevated pulse
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness or weakness

Ways to Avoid Heat Issues

To help avoid heat-related illnesses, the first priority is to stay cool and hydrated. You, of course, can take a walk out in the Florida sun - after all that’s probably part of the reason you live here - to enjoy the endless sunny days. But if it’s going to be blazing hot that day, you may want to take your walk earlier or later in the day. And no matter when you go, bring along something to keep you hydrated, such as water or drinks with electrolytes. An important tip is to hydrate even before you head out, so your body isn’t already feeling dehydrated before you even hit the sun. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, take some swigs to get the hydration into your body. If your doctor has limited the amount of liquids you can drink, make sure to check with your medical provider before changing anything up.

If you are heading outside on an extra hot day, you may want to keep the exercise a little more low impact. Save the strenuous activity for cooler days, or cooler parts of the day. Loose fitting clothing is also a way to help avoid heat-related impacts, so that your clothes, socks or shoes do not trap in the heat. A wide-brimmed hat or a visor, though, are great accessories to have when you are heading out into the heat and the sunshine.

Another accessory you will also probably want to wear is sunscreen. The CDC says that sunburn impacts your body’s ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated. Avoiding sunburn with sunscreen can help with this issue.

When it’s super hot out, make sure you are cooling off in air conditioning, especially if you are going to be spending part of the day outside. A fan often isn’t enough to cool the body, especially on days with high humidity. A cooling shower or bath can also help if you feel overheated. An easy way to cool off is to run a cool cloth under water, and to put it on your head after you come inside. To prepare, you also can freeze a cloth before you leave for your activity, and bring it along to cool yourself on your journey.

If you do notice any signs of a heat-related illness, move to a cool area. Some can be life threatening, so seek medical help immediately if needed.

Visiting Angels Can Help

Heat-related illnesses are just one of the challenges seniors face. If you are looking for a professional caregiver to help your senior loved one with any of life’s challenges, Visiting Angels Sarasota can help. The caregivers from our trusted referral network can provide a variety of services to help your senior with everything from getting ready in the morning, to ensuring they drink enough liquid, to helping to steady them when they walk. We can help you focus on what is important in life, while helping to take care of everyday tasks for your senior and your family. Our professionally trained caregivers serve clients in Punta Gorda, North Fort Myers, Boca Grande, Cape Coral, Sanibel, Captiva, Arcadia and surrounding areas. To learn more about our services at Visiting Angels, call us at 941-347-8288 or fill out an online form here.

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