Senior Care: Heat Stress vs. Heat Stroke

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Summer is just around the corner and with the rising temperatures come the increased risk of heat stress and heat stroke. Seniors in particular are prone to these dangerous and potentially life-threatening conditions. Home Care Assistance, a Tampa Bay senior care provider, shares information about heat stress and heat stroke so that families can protect their aging loved ones during this time of year.

What are heat stress and heat stroke?

Prolonged exposure to high temperatures and dehydration can trigger heat stress. The first signs include excessive sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, and nausea. If not addressed, the symptoms can progress to heat stroke where the body loses its ability to cool itself. A person experiencing heat stroke will stop sweating and typically have a body temperature above 103 degrees. Heat stroke can be disabling and even deadly if not treated quickly.

Why are seniors more prone to heat stress and heat stroke?

The body may have difficulty regulating temperature with age. Many seniors also have medical conditions or take medications that make them more susceptible to heat and dehydration. If you are unsure about how a loved one’s medications may be affecting them in the summer months, schedule an appointment with your loved one’s doctor and accompany them to their appointment. If unavailable, learn more about hourly care services in Tampa Bay, FL.

How can family caregivers prevent these conditions?

Family caregivers can reduce the risk of a senior loved one experiencing heat stress or stroke by:

  • Making sure plenty of water is consumed throughout the day
  • Avoiding outdoor activities and running errands during the hottest part of the day
  • Wear lightweight and breathable clothing or a hat when outdoors
  • Check air conditioning units to ensure they’re in proper working order

If you are concerned about a senior loved one’s safety at home or the ability to complete daily activities as we head into Tampa Bay’s warmer months, reach out to Home Care Assistance and learn more about our comprehensive care service. While we the Tampa Bay live-in care experts, we also provide hourly home care on an as-needed basis for seniors who need help with daily activities or companionship.