Tue, Jul 26, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Elderly need to watch for heat stroke signs

REPLENISH:Drinking about 500 milliliters of water with about half a spoon of salt can help hydrate a person who might have lost too much salt through excessive sweating

By Hsieh Chia-chun and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Older people living alone need to be more conscious of their physical condition due to a recent temperature spike across the nation, and family members need to keep an eye on older people as well as young people in their home, doctors have said.

Wanfang Hospital Department of Family Medicine director Hsieh Ying-hua (謝瀛華) said that headaches, tightening of the chest, thirst, fatigue and loss of appetite are signs of heat fatigue, adding that if it is not treated, heat fatigue can cause heat stroke.

Heat stroke symptoms include dizziness, vomiting, a flushed face and increased heart rate and could accompany liver or kidney failure, she said.

Older people who spend a lot of time exercising outdoors should remember to rest in the shade to cool down and drink a lot of fluids, Hsieh said.

Older people staying indoors should ensure that their surroundings are not stuffy, or they might be unaware that they are suffering from heat stroke, she said.

It is common for older people to treat feelings of disorientation or slurred speech as symptoms of dementia and not heat fatigue or heat stroke, thus delaying medical assistance, Hsieh said.

Hsieh also said that older people living alone should not lie down for long periods of time to cool down, because it is possible for the body to progressively deteriorate.

Hsieh said that people exposed to the heat should replenish liquids, or eat juicy fruits such as dragon fruit, watermelon and winter melon.

People should occasionally add about half a spoonful of salt to 500 milliliters of water to prevent desalinization from sweating too much, Hsieh said.

Patients seeking medical assistance for heat stroke or heat exhaustion at Wanfang Hospital this summer increased by 20 percent for those working outdoors, and patients with a history of hypertension, diabetes or other cardiovascular diseases suffering heat stroke has increased by 10 percent.

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