Environment Canada has issued a heat warning that is expected to continue through Tuesday, with temperatures exceeding 35 degrees in many parts of the province.
In response, BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) and EngAge BC are asking members of the public to check in with their elderly friends, relatives and neighbours to ensure they’re drinking plenty of water, staying in a cool place, and feeling well.
If someone you know is exhibiting signs of heat illness that can’t be resolved by drinking water and cooling off, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Preventing heatstroke in seniors
Heatstroke is a serious medical condition that requires emergency attention. If left untreated, it can cause damage to the brain, heart and kidneys, and can be fatal. Taking the following precautions can reduce the risk of heat illness among seniors.
- Take note of the seniors’ health conditions and medications. Check if they’re taking any prescription drugs that could impair their ability to regulate body temperature.
- Watch out for signs of overheating such as extreme thirst, dizziness, headache, nausea, cramps, fatigue, and cold, clammy skin. Overheating is not very dangerous on its own but can quickly lead to heatstroke. Symptoms of heatstroke include a body temperature of 104°F or higher, inflamed skin without sweating, rapid pulse, headache, nausea, dizziness and unconsciousness.
- Minimize sun exposure. If it’s hot outside stay indoors in a cool, air-conditioned environment. Keep your home cool by blocking out the sun with blinds/solar curtains, and keeping windows open at night.
- Dress appropriately. Wear light-coloured clothing made of natural, breathable fabrics like cotton. Hats and scarves should be used to protect against the sun.
- Stay hydrated by consuming enough water, juice, fruits and vegetables. Avoid alcoholic beverages, coffee and cola.
- Exercise indoors on warm days. Seniors should stay active but avoid overexerting themselves.