Health & Wellbeing     June 6, 2016

Warning – Heatwave and the Dangers of Heat Stroke

This week we find ourselves in the middle of a mini heatwave. The Met office have stated that today, 1st July 2015 is the hottest day since records began! Around this time every year the temperature starts to increase, which can cause real issues with elderly people. especially heat stroke. If you have an elderly neighbour or relative then the following information may be of help.

A rise in temperature should be a signal to all of us to take care in the heat. Older people are obviously more at risk in a heatwave, as they can’t adjust to temperature changes as swiftly as younger people. Many people over the age of 65 find themselves with long term health conditions and on prescription medication, both of which significantly reduces their ability to cope with an increase in the ambient temperature.

This being the case, heat stroke is the most serious effect on the elderly closely followed by heat exhaustion.

Symptoms of heat stroke include the following:

  • An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
  • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • hrobbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Paleness
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Skin: may be cool and moist
  • Pulse rate: fast and weak
  • Breathing: fast and shallow

Practical ways to reduce the effect of a heatwave include:

  • Regularly drink plenty of water
  • Rest
  • Have a shower or bath once or twice a day
  • Keep in a cool shady part of your home and look into the possibility of having a mobile air con unit.
  • Wear light clothing.

If we have older relatives it’s suggested we check in on them a couple of times a day. Having a careline alarm will also provide some level of protection as a user can raise an alarm the moment they feel unwell. Temperature sensors can also be connected to automatically raise an alarm if the ambient room temperature reaches a certain level.
Further information on how to cope with a heatwave is found on the NHS Choices Website.

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