The weather is heating up in the City of Angels as summer hits its peak. To maintain independent living, the staff at Beverly Hills Carmel recommends that all residents educate themselves on the risk of heat stroke.
Hot weather is not only uncomfortable, it is hazardous to your health. Overheating can cause complications that could lead to major medical problems. To prevent the heat from affecting your health, review our guide on avoiding heat stroke and dehydration.
Dangers of Hot Weather in Summer
Heat stress, heat stroke and heat exhaustion are three dangers associated with hot weather during the summer months. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness.
When the body is unable to regulate its own temperature, it loses its ability to sweat, which prevents you from cooling down.) During a heat stroke, your body temperature can rapidly rise to over 106°F.
The top five symptoms of heat stroke are:
- Red, hot, dry skin (unable to sweat)
- Throbbing headache
- Rapid pulse
Why are Seniors at Risk of Heat-Related Illness?
People over the age of 65 are at a higher risk of heat stroke due to the natural aging process. Older adults find it more difficult to sweat, and sweating is the body's natural mechanism for regulating body temperature. Also, as we age, our bodies store body fat differently, which complicates naturally cooling our bodies.
Unfortunately, without immediate medical intervention, the consequences of heat stroke can include permanent disability or death. Being aware of the signs of heat stroke will assist our independent living residents to seek treatment for themselves or their neighbors should symptoms arise.
Prevent Heat Stroke by Staying Hydrated
Staying hydrated is the best defense against heat-related illnesses, including heat stroke. The general rule is to sip on water throughout the day. In hot weather, you should never wait until you are thirsty to drink water — if you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated. If you're not sure how much water you should be drinking each day, check with your doctor. He or she will be able to advise you what the appropriate amount is.
Changes to nutrition can also help you to stay hydrated. One tip is to avoid alcoholic beverages and drinks that are high in sugar to prevent dehydration. Are you eating your fruits and vegetables? There are plenty of vegetables and fruit that are packed with water, like cucumbers and watermelon.
Other Tips to Avoid Heat Stroke
- Dress appropriately. Choose cotton clothes whenever possible. The natural fabric will let your body breathe and won't be an impediment to sweating. Loose fitting garments in a light color will facilitate keeping your temperature from rising. Don't forget to wear a wide-brimmed hat whenever you are outdoors.
- Avoid the mid-day sun. Plan to take a walk, run errands or otherwise enjoy the fresh air during the early morning or late afternoon hours. The sun and heat are at their strongest from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., so you'll stay cooler if you avoid being outdoors during this time.
- Remain in air conditioned environments. Preventing heat stroke is easily accomplished if you remain in a cool climate. However, you don't have to remain in your room to stay cool. Spending time in the mall, library or movie theater will allow you to socialize without compromising your health.
- Monitor the heat index. Seniors should check the weather forecast for the heat index, not just the temperature. The heat index will identify the percent of humidity in the air. High humidity will also make it challenging for your body to sweat and naturally cool down.
Do you have questions about our facility and independent living options? Don't postpone contacting The Beverly Hills Carmel at 310-278-8323 for a tour and consultation!