Stay Safe, Rather Than Sorry, This Summer

By Dr. Kathy Johnson, PhD, CMC

It is very important for everyone, especially seniors, to take care of themselves during these months of sunshine and heat waves. According to Doctor Alicia Arbaje of John Hopkins University, elderly people living at home need special attention from family members or caregivers. She says that the elderly often don’t realize when they are too hot, and the medications they take can often leave them very dehydrated. She suggests staying in the home and out of the sun during times of extreme heat, avoiding a lot of activity, and staying hydrated with not only water, but also “sweat-replacement” drinks such as sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade and drinks with low pH content in the short-term. If an individual notices problems while in the heat, do not hesitate to call a doctor. The summer is an exceptionally important time for seniors to have elder care, or to be watched closely by family and friends.

The summer of 2010 has brought record temperatures around the globe as everyone is feeling the heat. Medical centres across North America are reporting more cases of dizziness, nausea, weakness, asthma and cardio-obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). Dr. N. Stuart Harris, an emergency physician at Boston's Massachusettes General Hospital, reports a "definite...increase in heat-related processes resulting from heat exhaustion," this summer, but also noted that "people are pretty clever" when it comes to staying cool in the summer. Fortunately, the increased number of incidents from the heat have not been seen with more severe conditions such as heat stroke. However, those at the ends of the age spectrum - seniors and children - are most susceptible to heat waves and should take extra pre-caution.

Source: Home Care Blog, ABC News

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