Heatwave: 4 tips to protect the elderly

The heat wave has indeed returned to France. An episode during which it is advisable to apply simple advice to protect oneself from the hot weather, but also to preserve the fragile people around us, such as the elderly.

And for good reason: in addition to their possible health problems, the elderly have a reduced capacity to adapt to heat, which is characterized by a reduction:

  • perception of heat;
  • sweating abilities;
  • feeling thirsty;
  • the vasodilation capacity of the peripheral capillary system limiting the possibility of increased sweat flow in response to heat.

The right actions to protect the elderly from heatwaves

To deal with these issues, it is essential to know the specific recommendations for frail people, in order to protect loved ones. It is therefore advisable to ensure that the elderly:

  • limit their exposure to heat by staying in cool rooms, and avoiding going out at the hottest hours as well as outdoor activities requiring energy expenditure;
  • refresh themselves regularly by ventilating and by regularly wetting the skin with a damp cloth for example;
  • drink regularly without waiting to be thirsty, the goal being to consume about 1.5 liters of water per day. Be careful, however, that they do not drink too much: last summer, a quarter of elderly people in the emergency room had consumed too much water. Also to be avoided? Very cold drinks, which reduce the feeling of thirst too quickly, as well as alcohol, which impairs the ability to fight against heat and promotes dehydration;
  • continue to eat normally to avoid dilution hyponatremia. In question ? The production of sweat which causes a loss of water and salt and which must be compensated for by good hydration, but also by a varied diet.

Heatwave: other vulnerable people

Older people are not the only ones who are vulnerable to hot weather. Among frail people, we also find children and infants, people suffering from chronic pathologies, people treated with certain medications or people suffering from mental disorders.

To protect them from the heat wave, it is advisable, among other things, to ensure that they hydrate themselves regularly and that they keep away from the heat in a cool room.

Source: l” National Institute of Prevention and Education for Health and Public Health France.



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