As the temperatures begin to climb, so do health risks for seniors with existing conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Older adults may also have a decrease thirst sensation and a decreased ability to sweat.
Medications may also contribute to dehydration and affect the body’s ability to control temperature. A salt-restricted diet due to high blood pressure can also be a factor in overheating as you age.
- Drink plenty of cool water during high heat before you feel thirsty
- Avoid the sun and remain in the shade
- Stay in a cool or air conditioned space
- Apply cool towels or have a cool shower or bath
- Plan activities for cooler parts of the day
- Cover windows to keep out strong sunlight
- Wear light colored loose fitting clothing
- Wear a wide brimmed hat
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine which are diuretics (cause the body to lose fluids)
Signs of Heat Related Illness
- Muscle cramps
- Cold clammy skin
- Difficulty breathing
For more information about the dangers of hot temperatures visit Health Canada’s Climate Change and Health Report at www.sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/climat/heat-adults-chaleur/index-eng.php .