Sun Safety for Caregivers - Protect Your Clients from Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke!

    Now that summer has officially arrived, it’s time to start talking about sun safety again! Enjoying time outdoors with your clients or aging relatives can be a great way to keep them engaged and happy. However, it is vital to their wellness and yours to ensure you are enjoying the weather while also practicing sun safety to ward off dangers like heat exhaustion and heat stroke. So let’s kick off summer by being proactive and prepared!  Use this helpful information from our friends at Liberty Insurance to get you started.

    Summer heat can be more than uncomfortable, it can be downright miserable and a threat to the health of you and your clients or loved ones.  Older adults and children are particularly susceptible to ailments like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  However, it’s imperative that everyone practices sun safety, regardless of their age, to keep their leisure time truly relaxing and enjoyable.  Don’t let the summer heat get the best of you this season!

    Heat Exhaustion

    Heat exhaustion occurs when a person cannot sweat enough to cool their body.  This is usually the result of not drinking enough fluids during hot weather.  It generally develops when a person is playing, working, or exercising outside in extreme heat.  Symptoms include the following:

    • Dizziness, weakness, nausea, headache, and vomiting
    • Blurry vision
    • Body temperature rising to 101 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Sweaty skin
    • Feeling hot and thirsty
    • Difficulty speaking
    • The elderly person have may cool and moist skin, fast and shallow breathing, as well as weak pulse rate.

    A person suffering from heat exhaustion must move to a cool place and drink plenty of water to avoid a more severe heat-related condition – heat stroke.

    Heat Stroke

    Heat stroke is the result of untreated heat exhaustion.  Symptoms include:

    • Sweating stops
    • Unawareness of thirst and heat
    • Body temperature rising rapidly to above 101 degrees Fahrenheit
    • Confusion or delirium
    • Possible loss of consciousness or seizure

    Heat stroke is a serious medical emergency that must be treated quickly by a trained professional.  Until help arrives, cool the person down by placing ice on the neck, armpits, and groin.  If the person is awake and able to swallow, have them drink a small glass of water every 15 minutes or until help arrives.

    Tips for Staying Cool

    Heat and humidity can be a grueling combination in the summer months!  However, it doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to safely enjoy your time outdoors with your clients and loved ones.  When you’re spending time outdoors with older adults or children, be sure to keep close watch for the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke mentioned above, and encourage smart sun safety practices. Caregivers must do the following:

    • Offer your client plenty of healthy, cool beverages throughout the day, and make sure they understand why it’s so important that they stay hydrated. It is recommended that the average adult needs eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, and even more during hot weather.
    • Skip the caffeine and soda (or pop), and choose water instead.
    • Ensure that your client is dressed in lightweight clothing. Well-ventilated hats may help as well.
    • Serve watermelon or frozen treats as healthy and refreshing snacks.
    • Put moist towels on their neck, wrist, or back if they begin to feel too hot.

    However, heat stroke and heat exhaustion aren’t just outdoor problems.  There are steps you can take indoors as well to keep your clients or loved ones cool and safe.  Caregivers must do the following:

    • Let the client sit near a fan.
    • Keep electric light low.
    • Close blinds or curtains to block the sun.
    • Once again, put moist towels on their neck, wrist, or back if they begin to feel too hot.

    Remember our tips to keep you and your clients or loved ones safe from the dangers of heat.  Enjoy the summer weather, and stay happy and healthy!

    Harmony is founded with a single focus in mind: providing compassionate home care and home healthcare to the residents of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

    Our trustworthy caregivers are ready to lend a helping hand to your mother, father, children, and loved ones in Indiana County, Armstrong County, Butler County, and many more locations throughout the region. Contact us and one of our patient advocates will be happy to discuss how Harmony's programs can help your family today.


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    Author: Michelle Adams


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