Save elderly people from heat in simple ways

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New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) Save the elderly at your home from adverse effects of summer heat. Take them for a walk in the malls where it is cool or go swimming with them, suggest experts.

Mukesh Mehra, Senior Consultant at Department of Internal Medicine, Max Hospital, and Angeli Misra, co-founder at Lifeline Laboratory, have listed a few ways to take care of senior citizens:

* Try to plan activities that require going outside during non-peak hours when it might be a little cooler. Consider exercising at a gym, walking on a treadmill or mall walking instead of outdoor walks or activities. Swimming is a good option as well.

* Drink plenty of fluids (non-alcoholic and caffeine-free as these ingredients have a diuretic effect). Talk to your doctor if you take medications such as Lasix and other diuretics that affect fluid intake.

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Additionally, it may be important to consume food and drinks with sodium and potassium to restore electrolyte balance when losing fluids. Also, drink a lot of water.

Broths or soups contain sodium, fruit juice, soft fruits, vegetables containing potassium, sports drinks that contain electrolytes, are some options.

* Stay indoors in cooled spaces as much as possible. Check the air conditioning system, do maintenance review. If electricity goes out, consider alternative arrangements when heat is at dangerous levels.

* Be aware of signs of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

The most common signs of dehydration in the elderly are thirst, confusion, irritability and poor skin elasticity.

Keeping hydrated on a regular basis is the most important preventative measure, and individuals should be encourages to drink fluids even when not thirsty as thirst may not be triggered until already dehydrated.

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* Make them wear a wide-brimmed hat if you will be out in the sun.

* Dress appropriately. Avoid dark colours because they absorb the sun’s rays.

* Keep a check on their diet as it should be well-balanced, light and regular.

* Never leave them in an enclosed vehicle.

* Keep curtains closed during the heat of the day.

–IANS

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