Heat wave: 4 tips to protect the elderly
The heat wave has indeed made its return to France. An episode in which it is advisable to apply simple advice to protect oneself from the hot weather, but also to preserve the fragile people around us, like the old people.
And for good reason: in addition to their possible health problems, the elderly have a reduced ability to adapt to heat, which is characterized by a reduction:
- the perception of heat;
- perspiration abilities;
- the sensation of thirst;
- the vasodilation capacity of the peripheral capillary system limiting the possibility of increasing the flow rate in response to heat.
Good actions to protect the elderly from the heat wave
To deal with these issues, it is essential to know the specific recommendations for frail people, in order to protect their loved ones. It is therefore advisable to ensure that the elderly:
- limit their exposure to heat by staying in cool rooms, and avoiding trips to the hottest hours as well as outdoor activities requiring energy expenditure;
- cool regularly by ventilating and wetting the skin regularly with a damp cloth for example;
- drink regularly without waiting to be thirsty, the goal being to consume about 1.5 liter of water per day. Be careful, however, that they do not drink too much: last summer, a quarter of the elderly people in emergency rooms had consumed too much water. To avoid too? Very cold beverages, which reduce the feeling of thirst too quickly, as well as alcohol, which alters heat control capabilities and promotes dehydration;
- continue to eat normally to avoid dilutional hyponatremia. In question ? The production of sweat which generates a loss of water and salt and which must be compensated by a good hydration, but also by a varied diet.
Heat wave: other vulnerable people
Older people are not the only ones who are vulnerable to extreme heat. Fragile individuals include children and infants, people with chronic conditions, people on certain medications, and people with mental disorders.
To protect them from the heat wave, it is advisable, among other things, to ensure that they hydrate regularly and that they are protected from heat in a cool room.
Source: lNational Institute for Prevention and Education for Health and Public Health France.
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