Avoiding Heat Related Illness

Once again, we find ourselves right in the middle of summer. Our jackets, scarves, sweaters and hot chocolate are replaced with pools, beaches, fans and ice cream. This is a fun time of year where warmer weather brings an abundance of outdoor activities.

While enjoying the summer months, it is easy to forget about the negative effects of prolonged heat exposure. While we are all pretty good when it comes to sunscreen and sunburn prevention, we often overlook other heat-related illnesses, such as stroke, exhaustion, cramps, rash, etc.

During these warm summer months, we should do everything we can to protect our residents from heat-related illnesses. The following are a few tips to consider:

Environment:

  • Weather forecast – be informed of the coming conditions. If there is hotter weather on the horizon, you can be prepared.
  • Update your disaster and emergency plan – if your AC goes out, make sure you have a plan to get your residents to a cool place.
  • Community temperature – make sure the temperature is safe and comfortable at all times.
  • Hydration – make sure there are plenty of liquids available for residents, staff and visitors. This could be sports drinks, fruit juices or, of course, water.

Residents:

  • Residents should dress in lightweight and/or loose-fitting clothing. You may also want to recommend a hat or sunglasses if your residents are going to be outside for longer periods of time.
  • Offer frozen treats between meals, such as popsicles, ice cream, or a smoothie.
  • Plan activities during the cooler parts of the day, like the morning or early evening, so that they aren’t done during the hottest parts of the day
  • Hydration – once again, make sure your residents are consuming enough fluids.
  • Monitor your residents closely throughout the day to make sure they are not exhibiting signs of a heat related illness.

We hope that you, your residents and staff all have a safe and enjoyable summer season!

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