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Heat Exhaustion in Seniors – Signs and Prevention

In 1963, famous singer Nat King Cole released a best-selling record titled “Lazy, Hazy, Crazy, Days of Summer”. The chorus goes like this. . .

“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer.
Those days of soda, and pretzels and beer.
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer.
You’ll wish that Summer will always be here.”

Most Seniors likely know that song by heart! No doubt they can share timeless stories of summers spent climbing trees, days fishing on the rivers, or maybe running bases at a local ball diamond.

AHHHH, those memories of summers gone by!

Over the past several weeks, I’ve enjoyed seeing local Seniors planting their flower gardens, cheering for the grandkids at the local parks, and watching active Seniors riding bikes on some of our numerous local trails. Yes, Eastern Iowa Seniors are choosing to remain as independent and active possible!

While the carefree season of Summer hasn’t changed, the ways in which Seniors must handle the summer heat takes a little more planning and wisdom.

We at Prairie Rose Care Management would like to share some information about heat exhaustion to keep in mind for both Seniors and their loved ones to help have a safe summer season this year.

The following lists the most common signs of heat exhaustion:

  • Confusion
  • Dark-colored urine (sign of dehydration)
  • Dizziness / Light-headedness
  • Fatigue / Feeling Faint
  • Headache
  • Muscle/Abdominal Cramping
  • Nausea, Vomiting or Diarrhea
  • Profuse Sweating
  • Pale/Clammy Skin
  • Rapid Heartbeat

These symptoms can develop suddenly or over a longer period of time.

If you experience any of these signs get out of the heat immediately. Find refuge in a shaded area or preferably an air-conditioned room. Relief should occur within 15 minutes. If these measures provide no relief, seek emergency help right away. Heat exhaustion, when left untreated, can lead to heat stroke, which is a much more serious medical condition.

The old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” definitely applies when dealing with summer’s soaring temperatures and high humidity levels.

  • Wear loose fitting, light-weight clothing.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest parts of the day
  • Drink plenty of fluids; probably more than you think necessary
  • Water is best, and use caution if consuming beverages with caffeine or alcohol as these can contribute to dehydration.
  • Find shaded areas when participating in outdoors activities for a long period of time.

With just a little pre-planning and precaution, all our wonderful corridor Seniors can continue to enjoy lots of laughter and smiles throughout the upcoming lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer!

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