The summer months are almost here in Brevard County. This means extra time with family and friends enjoying one another and taking advantage of the incredible activities that Melbourne, FL has to offer. While summer is a time that many look forward to all year long, it is also especially important to know how to recognize the signs of distress in the midst of all the heat and humidity that this time of year brings. This is especially true for the seniors in your life. According to the CDC, heat impacts those over the age of 65 more significantly than their younger counterparts. Champion knows the effect heat can have on health and we want you to be prepared to enjoy the season ahead with the assurance that you are protecting yourself and the ones you love.
Heat affects older adults differently than others in the population. Those in this age range do not adapt as easily to extreme changes in temperatures and this can be due to a variety of reasons. Underlying health conditions, medications, and other possibilities cause the body to react differently to extreme heat. If you are in this age bracket, you need to recognize that your body does not tolerate heat the way it once did. Know the signs and symptoms of heat distress and when to seek medical attention. These symptoms vary so it is important to know what they are and recognize them in yourself and others.
Heat exhaustion is a form of heat related illness that typically develops over the course of a few days during which the patient is exposed to high temperatures. As the body loses water and electrolytes, those effected can feel a range of symptoms including:
- Dizziness and headache
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Excessive sweating and muscle cramps
- Shallow breathing and varying pulse rates
Those suffering from heat exhaustion may also appear pale and experience substantial sweating. A tired feeling along with fainting may even occur. If you or anyone you are with begins to experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
Heat stroke is a very serious condition that can result in death in not treated in a timely fashion. Heat strokes occur when the body simply loses its ability to cool down. The CDC notes that symptoms occurring with heat stroke include:
- Excessive body temperature – over 103 degrees
- Intense headache
- Nausea and dizziness
- Skin that is dry and hot and does not sweat
Because of the severity of a heat stroke, action must be taken immediately. Contact medical assistance as soon as you see signs of heat stroke. Next, get the patient to a shady area away from the sun as quickly as possible. Try to get the person suffering from heat stroke as cool as possible as quickly as you can. This can be done by immersion into a cool bath or shower, continuous spray from a hose, etc. The important thing to remember is that cooling the individual down is crucial. Keep an eye out on their temperature and avoid alcoholic drinks at all costs.