Heat Poses Health Risk for Elderly

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

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Cold clammy skin
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Confusion

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 .