Heat can cause issues for seniors

Summer is back, in all its glory. For some it also means an onslaught of heat-related issues, especially for seniors.

Summer is back, in all its glory.

For some it also means an onslaught of heat-related issues, especially for seniors.  Lethargy, dehydration, poorer sleeping patterns — just to name a few.

We tend to take our body’s ability to regulate itself during hot days for granted, and forget that as we age, we are at a greater risk of being affected by the extreme heat and sun.

Dehydration can affect anyone, young or old.

It occurs when the body loses more water than it takes in. Dehydration can be mild and easily treated if caught early or very severe resulting in life-threatening conditions including hospitalization. Not to mention putting a crimp in your summer adventures!

As we age, our sweat glands, which help cool the body, become less efficient.

Blood vessels carry less blood to the skin and the skin itself goes through natural normal age-related changes that may slow the rate of heat release or the ability to “cool oneself down.”

Normal aging causes older adults to respond slower to heat and leads to higher body temperatures and slower sweat productions.

For some, chronic illnesses and medications change the ability of the body to regulate temperature. This results in a higher risk of dehydration and sun and/or heat stroke.

What most people feel when they are dehydrated is fatigue. We tend to urinate less (and darker in colour) and also notice a dry mouth/sticky tongue syndrome.

Other physical signs can include muscle weakness and/or cramping, decrease in tears, sunken eyes and poor skin elasticity (in a hydrated person, when pulling up the skin on the back of your hand and releasing, it will return to its normal state instantly).

In severe cases of dehydration, your aging loved may show signs of confusion, which if out of blue, is a cause for concern. Other signs include headaches, dizziness and changes in heart rate and blood pressure.

A few tips to stay hydrated:

• Drink water! Stay well-hydrated by drinking at least eight eight-ounce glasses of liquid every day, especially water, juices, milk, club soda and decaffeinated beverages

• Eat watermelon and other water-based foods such as soups, ice cream and smoothies

• Limit caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, which are diuretics and increase fluid needs.

• Wear sunglasses at all times when outdoors (NOT just at the beach) to help protect eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.

• Stay indoors during extremely hot temperatures.

• Wear a hat and apply sunscreen of at least 30 SPF to protect skin from overexposure to the sun’s damaging rays.

• Know the signs of heat stroke and seek immediate treatment for this medical emergency. Signs include a red flushed face, high body temperature (106 F+), headache, little or no sweat and rapid pulse.

• If symptoms of dehydration continue after replenishing fluid loss, consider going to your family physician.

Wendy Johnstone is a gerontologist and is the founder of Keystone Eldercare Solutions. Her column runs in the Comox Valley Record every second Thursday.

Just Posted

High winds force several BC Ferries sailing cancellations

Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay, Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay, and Duke Point to Tsawwassen among closures

New wind warning for most of Vancouver Island

Forecasters are calling for strong winds up to 90km/h for some areas

Mount Washington opening for winter season this weekend

The resort’s original opening day was delayed due to lack of snow

NIC brings Likʷala/Kwak’wala and Nuu-chah-nulth language courses to campus

NIC will offer introductory Likʷala /Kwak’wala and Nuu-chah-nulth language courses in Campbell… Continue reading

VIDEO: 2018 Everybody Deserves a Smile campaign packaging day

Students from throughout the Comox Valley come to Ecole Puntledge Park to help the less fortunate

Tommy Chong says Canada took wrong approach to pot legalization

He also talked about the likelihood of another Cheech and Chong film

Comox Valley RCMP make several arrests during house raid

Search warrant executed at a residence on Piercy Avenue Monday evening

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

‘Both things are true:’ Science, Indigenous wisdom seek common ground

Reconciliation between Canada and First Nations is playing out not only in legislatures and courtrooms but in labs across the country

B.C. to move salmon farms out of coastal migration route

Broughton Archipelago plan set to start in spring of 2019

Facebook reveals bug gave apps unauthorized access to 6.8 million users’ photos

It’s believed up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers had access to Facebook Stories, private photos

Lower-than-expected parcel volumes helping cut into backlog, says Canada Post

The Crown corporation says that’s largely because it is taking in fewer holiday parcels than expected

Most Read