When you are a caregiver for a Michigan senior, the many safety issues you face can feel overwhelming. You worry about how well they manage their medications, if they are eating right and their overall health. And it isn’t just the cold Michigan winter that puts seniors at greater risk. Hyperthermia is just as much of a concern as hypothermia.
Our aging loved ones are often at higher risk for heart-related illnesses because of health conditions like high blood pressure or heat disease. Even some of the medications seniors take have side effects that make them more susceptible to sunburn and sun poisoning. In this week’s article, we thought it would be helpful to share the warning signs of dehydration and heat stroke in an older person.
Many caregivers have the misconception that a senior needs to be out in the sun for an extended period of time before they are at risk for a heat-related illness. In fact, dehydration and heat exhaustion can quickly lead to heat stroke if left untreated. How hot and humid it is makes a difference, as does how much hydration the person has been taking in and how physically active they are in the sun.
Knowing the warning signs of dehydration can help prevent a serious heat-related illness or even heat stroke. Here are a few symptoms to be on the lookout for this summer:
- Dry, sticky mouth
- Feeling tired and fatigued
- Decreased urine and lack of sweating
- Muscle weakness
- Rapid heartbeat
- Fever despite how hot it is outdoors
- Slow or low blood pressure
- Confusion and disorientation
- Problems speaking or putting together sentences
If you or a loved one you are a caregiver for exhibits any of the symptoms above, seek medical assistance immediately. Don’t delay calling 911 to see if they feel better. Heat-related illnesses that are detected early can be treated before they cause permanent damage.