Extreme Heat Causes Major Health Problems for Older Adults
The AGS’ Foundation for Health and Aging (FHA) suggests these steps for seniors to help stay safe in the summer months:
- Use air conditioning in the home or go where it’s air-conditioned — a shopping mall, grocery store, senior center, movie theatre, museum or library, for example. (Fans are not effective enough to adequately cool down the body during intense heat waves.)
- Drink a lot of water and other clear beverages that don’t contain alcohol or caffeine. A good way to measure if enough fluids are being ingested is to check urine color. If urine is a light yellow color, enough water is being taken into the body. If it’s darker yellow, the body needs more water.
- Take cool showers, baths, or sponge baths.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and hats.
- Extended periods of sun exposure.
- Walking long distances, lifting heavy objects, or other strenuous activities.
Below are the most common health problems caused by heat:
- Dehydration: Weakness, headache, muscle cramps, dizziness, confusion and passing out.
- Heat stroke: A body temperature of or above 103 degrees; red, hot and dry skin; a fast pulse; headache, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, confusion and passing out.
- Heat exhaustion: Heavy sweating or no sweating, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, paleness, cold or clammy skin, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting and fainting.
If you would like to speak to an AGS spokesperson about summer safety tips for older adults, please contact
SOURCE American Geriatrics Society