Adultos mayores: cómo prevenir el golpe de calor

Global warming is weighing us down. Not only are glaciers melting and species of animals and plants disappear; the heat, more and more, suffocates us. In fact, in Argentina we are going through the fifth warmest year in the last six decades. In our province, meanwhile, we are already “used” to the heat, but now the high temperatures put us in greater danger during more hours of the day. And we must take care of ourselves.

It is often believed that those who suffer the most from heat stroke are the youngest. Small and vulnerable, it is recommended time and again to be careful when exposing them to the sun, but they are not the only ones. In fact, there is another large risk group: older adults. Whether due to a medical condition, prescription drugs or the inability of their bodies to adapt to sudden changes in temperature, older people are often victims of heat stroke.

Why it affects the elderly

“Heatstroke is the increase in body temperature due to exposure to high thermal sensations, which can be caused by a prolonged stay in the sun or by vigorous exercise in environments with little or very hot ventilation”, explains Julio Bruetman , Head of the Medical Clinic Service of the British Hospital, Buenos Aires.

This increase in body temperature can be devastating for older adults and trigger severe dehydration and even prolonged damage to the body.

Exposure to the sun, in any case, can cause a rapid loss of body fluids and salts, which will translate into certain warning signs, “But older adults and older adults are more likely to suffer from it, and even more seriously. children, ”Bruetman clarifies.

What happens with the elderly is that the regulation of water, salts and temperature change over the years, and the temperature control becomes less precise. And that is not the only aggravating factor. It can also happen that the sensation of thirst is diminished, or that the release of heat in high temperatures is slower and inadequate.

“This is what puts adults at risk, mainly the most fragile – over 75 years old – as they can quickly become dehydrated due to having difficulties recognizing excess heat and, therefore, not taking the amount of fluid necessary for these circumstances ”, clarifies the specialist from the British Hospital.

To do

According to the National Meteorological Service we are facing a quite hot week: today we will have a maximum of 37 ° C, but it will get worse: tomorrow 39 ° C; Wednesday 40 ° C; and from Thursday to Sunday, 41 ° C. In this situation, it is important to pay attention to the health status of the elderly; having other pathologies due to their age, it is very easy to confuse a heat stroke with a simple fever or to think that the headaches or fatigue have another origin.

The first thing, before the symptoms, is to look at the temperature. If a person is feeling unwell and it has been very hot, it is likely that their discomfort is due to heat stroke. Before any sign of heat stroke, make sure that the person is in the shade, protected. Then you will need to take a cold bath, or put on cold washcloths or ice to lower your body temperature. You will need to rest immediately and begin the rehydration process in a cool place with good air circulation.

The important thing, in the face of sunstroke, is to prevent the picture from worsening. The application of wet cloths in specific places (neck, armpits and English) in a progressive way is a key; It is also indicated to help the adult who suffered heatstroke to remain semi-sitting, with the head raised, to promote breathing.

However, if the elderly person does not improve with this care, it will be necessary to transfer him to a guard.


• Thirst and a pasty or dry mouth

• Increase in body temperature above normal

• Excessive sweating

• Feeling of suffocation

• Decreased sensation of urination

• Soft spot

• Fainting, dizziness, or seizures

• Cramps

• Dry Skin

• Nausea and / or lack of hunger

• Headache or dullness

• Confusion


• Drink plenty of fluids

• Offer fluids to older adults on a consistent basis

• Eat fruit and vegetables

• Do not abuse tea, coffee, cola drinks

• Avoid very hot drinks and alcohol intake

• Wear light, loose, cotton clothing

• Take frequent baths

• Avoid sun exposure

• Choose a stay in cool and ventilated places

• Choose a stay in cool and ventilated places.

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