Stay Safe in the Heat

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The heat isn’t something to take lightly, especially if you’re an older adult. Older adults are more prone to gettingsick from extreme heat because as we age, our bodies cannot handle the heatlike it used to. Also, naturally, older adults are more common to have chronichealth problems that they have to take medications for and certain medications can affect the body’s ability to deal with the heat. Aside from aging and medication,why is the heat harder on older adults?
Cooling down is harder

Heat exhaustion occurs when the body cannotfight the heat and has a hard time cooling down. We cool ourselves down bysweating, and that gets harder with age due to our sweat glands being lesseffective.
Certain medications can also interfere with how the body sweats, losing theability to cool itself down.
The heat impacts the heart

Along with sweating, the body releases heatby increasing the blood flow to the skin, and if you’re someone with heart disease,putting pressure on your already weaker than normal heart can be dangerous.According to the CDC about 20 million adults in the US have some sort of heartdisease, and those fighting it have a hard time dealing with the extreme heat.
Dehydration

We already hear about how its important todrink water when its hot out and that’s because you need fluid in your body toproduce sweat which, in turn, cools your body down. A mixture of a decrease inthirst as well as certain medications, like diuretics and ibuprofen, cancomplicate hydration due to the affects they have on the body.
So, what can you do to beat the heat?
Pay attention to humidity

Everyone handles heat differently,depending on what you’re used to and where you live. But, it is important topay attention to the humidity level because sweat has a hard time evaporatinginto air (humidity) that has a lot of water in it. The higher the humidity, thehotter it will feel and can cause a potential threat.
Talk to your doctor about your medications

Ask your doctor about any medications youare on and how it mixes with the heat. Knowing what they do to your body canhelp you prepare.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Most of us don’t drink water until we feelthirsty, but sometimes that means we’re already dehydrated. Take a look at thecolor of your urine, that’s a good indicator on whether or not you’re wellhydrated. If its pale yellow you are good to go, if it’s a darker yellow ororange color, drink up! If drinking water is hard for you to do, mix it up byhaving fresh fruit or add mixers into water like crystal light.

Pay attention to the thermostat

If your thermostat is over 80 degrees andespecially if you have a chronic health condition, lower your air conditioning.Not doing so could put you at a higher risk for heat-related illnesses.

Have a backup plan incase your air goesout

It may be a good idea to have a back upplan when it comes to the heat. Have a place to go when your air conditioningbreaks so you’re not stuck in the heat.
Know the warning signs of heat illness

There are differences between heat exhaustionand heat stroke. Know the difference between the two and what to do if you’reexperiencing either:
Heat Exhaustion
faintness
dizziness
excessive sweating

rapid weak pulse

muscle cramps

nausea

 If you’re experiencing any of thesesymptoms move to a cool space, drink water and use a cold compress to cool yourbody down.

Heat Stroke
headache

confusion

red, hot skin

nausea

rapid strong pulse

body temperature above 103 degrees

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms,call 911 and move the person to a cool place.