With the heat index breaking records summer after summer, the National Institutes of Health recently issued some tips for seniors who at a greater risk of suffering during a heat wave. Seniors are at an increased risk because their older bodies lose some ability to adapt to heat, and also because they may be on medications which reduce that adaptability as well.
When the body overheats it is called hyperthermia. Conditions involving hyperthermia are heat exhaustion, heat stroke, heat syncope (lightheadedness/fainting in the heat), heat fatigue and heat cramps.
The following factors increase the risk of hyperthermia:
Older people should pay attention to any air pollution alerts in effect. People without fans or air conditioners should go to shopping malls, movie theaters, libraries or other places with air conditioning. In addition, they can visit cooling centers which are often provided by government agencies, religious groups and social service organizations in many communities.
Seek immediate medical attention for a person with any of these heat stroke symptoms, especially an older adult:
If you suspect that someone is suffering from a heat-related illness, get medical assistance as soon as possible, and:
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