Wichita Falls, TX - Extreme summer temperatures can be a dangerous time for the elderly. Especially when the heat and humidity levels are at an all-time high putting older adults at risk of experiencing heat-related illnesses.
The older we get, the less we sweat. The way the body works, we sweat to help us stay cool and when you sweat less, in extreme heat, it's more difficult for your body to recover.
"There are changes in the skin that occur. The sweat glands don't work as well. Your body's ability to regulate temperatures goes down, and activation of the sweat glands also becomes impaired as a result," said Dr. Ronan Factora, a Geriatrician at Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Factora says elderly people have less bodily fluids to release, and when taking medications for chronic illnesses that too can affect a person's ability to sweat.
Here's what you can do protect yourself from overheating:
- Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after spending time outdoors
- Take frequent breaks
- Be aware of the signs that the heat may be overwhelming yourself or someone else
Dr. Factora said, "If you're feeling tired, fatigue, or dizziness, it's time for you to take a break, sit down, relax, and drink some more fluids. And if there are any signs of confusion, these are all signs that you're probably being overexposed."
If you feel like you are experiencing heat exhaustion of dehydration, get to a cool, shaded area, indoors, and drink fluids to regain your energy.