Visiting Angels, Gadsden Blog

How to Spot the Signs of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke in Your Senior Loved One

Summer is here in full force. Given we are spending more time outside, heat-related illness can sneak up on us, especially our senior loved ones.  For people age 65 and over, certain factors such as medication side effects or underlying conditions may negatively affect the body’s proficiency at cooling itself, resulting in a potentially life-threatening medical condition.  What is the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and what are the signs of each?

Heat Exhaustion Woman experiencing heat exhaustion

According to Mayo Clinic, exposure to prolonged heat, often combined with humidity and physical activity, can cause heat exhaustion. The following are signs of heat exhaustion:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Clammy, cool skin
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle Cramps

If your senior loved one is experiencing these symptoms, immediately move them to a cool, shady area and encourage them to drink either water or a drink with electrolytes such as Gatorade. Remove any extra layers of clothing that may be storing heat. If possible, take their temperature.  If their temperature is 103F, this is now considered a medical emergency and requires immediate medical care.

Heat Stroke

Heat Stroke has some symptoms in common with heat exhaustion; however, it is a more severe and life-threatening illness. The symptoms of heat stroke are:

  • Throbbing headache
  • Nausea
  • Fast, strong pulse
  • Lack of sweating, dry skin
  • Confusion
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Body temperature of 103 degrees or higher

If your senior loved one is experiencing heat stroke, call 911 immediately because this is a life-threatening emergency. Move them to a cool place and apply cool towels to lower the body temperature. Follow the instructions of the 911 operator.

Visiting Angels of Gadsden, AL, understands the importance of preventing and monitoring for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke in the summer months. Our goal is to improve the quality of life of our clients and, in so doing, safely facilitate outdoor activities as requested.  If you would like to learn more about senior in-home care with Visiting Angels Gadsden, please call us at 256-297-2618 or contact us online today.

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.