This rainy season is tough for everyone, especially for seniors. It is not just cold weather and wind that everyone has to deal with but also cold water pouring down from dark clouds up above. Do you know that getting even just a small part of your body wet could lead to (25 times faster than the air) heat loss in your body, which can seriously reduce or destroy the insulating value of clothing? This type of coldness can lead to Hypothermia (commonly known as Cold Stress). Although everyone are vulnerable to coldness that rainy season brings, the seniors are more susceptible to develop low body temperature after being exposed to conditions of mild cold. For that reason, seniors are at risk of Hypothermia. The good news is we can avoid it to happen. We have come up of things to know about cold stress…..
What is Hypothermia?
Hypothermia or cold stress is a condition common to seniors marked by an abnormally low internal body temperature. It develops when heat from the body escapes faster than it can be replaced.
Hypothermia is a silent killer so to recognize the symptoms would be a matter of life and death. Here are the symptoms of Hypothermia or cold stress:
1. Unusual stiffness of the muscles accompanied by a fine trembling
2. Shivering (it is important to note that seniors tend not to react to cold so absence of shivering doesn’t mean they are not cold)
3. Puffy or Swollen Face in combination of cold skin and signs of confusion
4. Poor coordination and Jerky movements
5. Slow Breathing and Heart Rate
6. Pale Skin Color usually along with large, irregular blue or pink spots
7. Growing Mental Confusion
8. Strange Changes in Attitude (most common change in attitude: becomes Apathetic)
9. Sleepiness (Difficulty in Waking Up)
10. Slurred Speech
How to Reduce the Risk of Hypothermia?
1. Insulate your home properly (if you live by yourself)
2. Dress warmly
3. Proper diet and Physical conditioning
4. Get enough rest
5. Drink adequate amounts of liquids
6. Use extra blankets and/or Turn On the Heater
7. Avoid exposure to cold
What To Do in case you believe someone is a victim of Hypothermia:
1. Call 9-1-1 immediately
2. Handle the person gently
3. Gradually warm the person
4. Provide warm, DRY clothing
5. With available covering such as blankets, newspapers, pillows, scarves, towels, etc., INSULATE the person
What NOT TO DO in case you believe someone is a victim of Hypothermia:
1. DO NOT bathe NOR give the person a shower
2. DO NOT feed the person hot food NOR give the person hot drinks
3. DO NOT give the person a massage NOR rub the person
Talk to your doctor for more information about Hypothermia. It is better to be ready than be sorry. After all, information about prevention is always available— you just have to ask.