Seniors and Heat Illness

What You Can Do to Help Protect Seniors from Heat Illness

If you have senior relatives or neighbors (people over 65 years of age), you can help them prevent heat illness during hot weather.

  • Visit them at least twice a day and watch for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
  • Seniors may not feel thirsty even when their bodies are low on fluids. Encourage them to drink plenty of cool water, juice or sports drinks.
  • Take them to air-conditioned places if their residence is hot. They can also shower or bathe in cool water. Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness.

Seniors can get heat illness more easily than younger people.

  • Their bodies do not adjust as well as those of young people to sudden changes in temperature.
  • They are more likely to have a condition that upsets the body's normal response to heat.
  • They are more likely to take medicines that make it harder for the body to control its temperature and to sweat.

Hot Weather Tips for the Elderly (CDC)

Seniors, Click here to find out more about preventing heat-related illness

Warning Signs of Heat Exhaustion

Warning signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, cramps, headache, confusion, nausea or vomiting, tiredness, weakness, dizziness and fainting. If heat exhaustion is not treated, it can turn into heat stroke.

Warning Signs of Heat Stroke

Warning signs of heat stroke include red, hot dry skin; very high body temperature; dizziness; nausea; confusion; strange behavior or unconsciousness; and rapid pulse or throbbing headache.

How to help someone with heat stroke or heat exhaustion

Preventing and Treating Summer Heat Illness

Warning: If your doctor limits the amount of fluid you drink, or if you take water pills, ask him or her how much you should drink when the weather is hot. If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage.