Heatwaves are continuing all over the world. At this time, the elderly who not only have weak immunity but also have various chronic diseases can easily become dehydrated and fall into an emergency situation.
Difference between heat stroke, sun stroke and heat cramp
There are heat stroke, sun stroke, and heat cramp as serious diseases that appear when our body is exposed to heatwaves. Both sun stroke and heat stroke initially complain of symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headache, and fatigue. However, if the core temperature stays below 40 degrees Celsius along with some mental confusion and dizziness, it is called a sun stroke. When the core temperature rises above 40 degrees, the mental state becomes more confused, and symptoms such as loss of consciousness or seizures are accompanied, it is called a heat stroke. In other words, an improperly treated sun stroke can become a heat stroke. Heat cramp is different from heat stroke and sun stroke in that the body lacks essential salts along with symptoms of dehydration, causing muscle cramps or pain.
Avoiding heatwaves is key
The best way to prevent heat illness is to avoid heatwaves. Avoid going out during severe heatwaves. In particular, you should stop going out or exercise outside between 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm when the daytime temperature exceeds 30 degrees Celsius. In summer, it is best to exercise indoors as much as possible, and during outdoor exercise or work, avoid the heat and do it in the early morning or late afternoon. Exercising or working too hard under the hot sun can raise your body temperature and threaten your life. If it is unavoidable to exercise or work during the daytime, you should drink plenty of water while working, along with a proper meal before and after working.
Especially in the case of the elderly, there is a risk of easily becoming dehydrated in the summer. When water and salt are lost through excessive sweating, symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, nausea, headache, and muscle cramps appear. You must drink more water than you sweat to prevent dehydration problems. Therefore, if you do not have heart or kidney problems, it is good to drink enough water. In general, it is recommended to drink at least 8 glasses (1-1.5 liters) of water per day.
Move quickly to a shady place
If you feel dizzy, nauseous, or faint while being outdoors on a heatwave, you should seek immediate help and rest in a cool, shaded area. Also, if you find someone who has collapsed in a heatwave, first ask for help and call a rescue team, and then guide the person to a cool, shady place. If the patient is conscious, have the patient drink water or an isotonic beverage. It is also a good idea to loosen the patient’s clothes, spray water on the patient’s body, or cool the patient with a fan.
On the other hand, it is important for the elderly to eat a nutritious diet to maintain their health in summer. It is natural that heatwaves reduce appetite. However, if the elderly skip meals due to poor appetite and eat an unbalanced diet, there is a high risk of malnutrition. If there is a lack of nutrition, muscle strength and immunity are weakened, making it easier to get sick. That’s why it’s important to eat a balanced diet that includes the right amount of fruits, vegetables, meat, and protein.
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