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COVID-19 - Preventing heat stroke in seniors

On May 26, 2020

Heatwaves are back once again. While we have no control over Mother Nature, you can help your loved one get through these intense heat periods.


 Prevention

  • Keep an eye on the weather forecast so you can plan your activities accordingly;
  • Keep the physical environment as cool as possible: 
    • Use air conditioning or a fan;
    • Close the curtains to keep out the heat;
    • Prepare meals that do not need to be cooked in the oven.
  • If your place is very warm, take cool showers or place a cold washcloth on your neck;
  • If you don’t live with the person you take care of, make sure that you stop by daily to ensure that all is well;
  • Stay properly hydrated:
    • Ensure that you drink water regularly and offer it to your loved one;
    • Leave a glass near the sink to remind yourself to drink water;
    • Choose fruits and vegetables, as they contain water.

Older people take longer to feel thirst and are more vulnerable to dehydration. - Dre Diana Cruz, physician at the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal.

Recognizing the signs

When the weather is hot, pay special attention to the following signs:

  • Dizziness or fainting;
  • Nausea or vomiting;
  • Headache;
  • Rapid breathing or rapid heart rate;
  • Extreme thirst (dry mouth or sticky saliva);
  • Less frequent urination and urine that is unusually dark yellow in colour.

If in doubt about the need to seek medical attention, do not hesitate to call 811.

What to do in case of heat stroke

Heat stroke is a medical emergency. If your loved one has an elevated body temperature, is unconscious, confused or perspiring abundantly, call 911 without delay and follow the instructions given by the dispatcher while waiting for the paramedics.

Heatwave and COVID-19

While wearing a mask during a heat wave may feel uncomfortable, its usage remains of paramount importance when going in public places or visiting your loved one. Moreover, basic hygiene rules must be respected at all time – maintain a physical distance of two meters between you and others and wash your hands regularly.


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