DEALING WITH HEAT STROKE IN ELDERLY

Summer in Australia may be loveable to sport & tour lovers, but elderly people in particular are often seen to suffer due to excessive heat waves during dry days. They are more prone to suffer from heat stroke because of their compromised temperature adjusting mechanism, especially for those who have chronic illness such as diabetes or who are alcoholic, malnourished or debilitated.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke:
The common symptoms of heat stroke involve dizziness, headache, nausea, shortness of breath, hot and dry skin; in severe cases, convulsion and coma (in severe cases).

Immediate Care & Support:

  • Stop all activities immediately if the above symptoms occur.
  • Switch on the fan or air-conditioner.
  • If in outdoor area, get to a sheltered place. Use wet towel to wipe the body to cool down the temperature.
  • If the elderly person is conscious, give some cold drinks to restore the fluid lost.
  • If the elderly does not recover or becomes drowsy, immediately rush to medical facility nearby.

Prevention of Heat Stroke in Elderly Persons:

  • Open the windows and make sure that there is sufficient ventilation of the indoor area. You can use fan or air-conditioner to maintain a cool environment.
  • In summer, it is better for the elderly to stay in cool indoor area and minimize outdoor activities.
  • If need to go outdoor, bring along umbrella and avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. Preferably go out in the morning or in the evening.
  • Listen to the weather report and wear appropriate clothes. Wear clothes that are loose, light-coloured, and made of cotton.
  • Replace fluid lost adequately. Avoid taking coffee and alcohol as they induce diuresis.

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