Summertime in Miami brings blazing heat, bright sun, and uncomfortable humidity, three things that can cause heat-related illnesses such as heatstroke. While everybody should take precautions in the hot Miami summer, seniors face an especially high risk in inclement weather. According to a CDC report, 36 percent of heat-related deaths in the United States were among people over age 65, but there are ways to prevent heat-related illnesses and keep seniors cool.
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Our professional caregivers have plenty of relevant experience keeping seniors cool in the hot Miami summer. Here are a few tips.
What is Heat Stroke and Why Are Seniors Susceptible?
Before going over our tips to stay cool, our senior care in Miami professionals think it’s important to share an overview of what heat stroke is. Heatstroke happens when the body overheats, typically to 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If not treated, heat stroke can damage the brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles. The longer it takes to get treatment, the higher the risk for serious complications or even death.
While everybody can experience heat stroke to some degree, seniors are especially vulnerable. This is because their bodies do not adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature, chronic medical conditions can change their body responses to heat, and prescription medications can impair the body’s ability to regulate temperature or could actually prevent sweating.
Tips to Help Seniors Avoid the Heat
- Encourage water intake: Remind your loved ones to drink water throughout the day. A body that is hydrated feels cooler and regulates temperature better. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
- Understand their health conditions: Check with their doctor to find out if medications or treatments could increase the risk for heatstroke by affecting the way that their bodies regulate temperature.
- Cool washcloth: If the senior is feeling hot, encourage them to place a cool washcloth on their back and a pan of cool water close by to periodically re-cool the towel.
- Wear lightweight clothing: Convince them to wear as little clothing as possible and make clothes as light, breathable, and loose as possible.
- Use solar curtains: Inexpensive solar curtains can play a large role in keeping your senior’s house cool during the hottest days by blocking out the sun.
- Visit a public cooling center: If the house does not have air conditioning or if the system does not work well, a senior can stay cool by visiting a public cooling spot such as a senior center, library, coffee shop, or recreation center.
- Stay on the ground floor: Because heat rises, a house is cooler in the main level and the basement. Discourage them from spending too much time upstairs.
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