Heat Stress in the 65+ Community

Posted:May 26, 2015

Now that Memorial Day has passed and the unofficial start of summer is underway, many retirees are planning to spend some extra time in the sun.  However, too much sun and heat can cause stress in the form of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. It is especially important to be cautious of heat stress if you are over the age of 65 since your body does not adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature.  There are also other variables that cause heat stress for elderly people such as chronic medical conditions and prescriptions that impair the body’s ability to regulate temperature.

Heat Stoke

Heat stroke takes place when the body becomes unable to control its temperature.  Your body loses the ability to sweat and becomes unable to cool down. Heat stroke can lead to death or permanent disability if not treated in time. Signs and symptoms of heat stoke include body temperatures of 103°F or higher, inability to sweating (skin red, hot and dry), a rapid pulse, headache, dizziness, and nausea.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion can develop days after exposure to high temperatures and inadequate replacement of fluids. Some signs and symptoms include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, headache, and nausea.

How to protect yourself from Heat Stress

  • Drink cool, non-alcoholic beverages
  • Take a cool shower or bath
  • Rest
  • Seek an air-conditioned environment and try to remain indoors
  • Wear lightweight clothing
  • Do not partake in strenuous activity