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Ask a Doc: We’ve had some hot weather this summer. My mother is older and refuses to use air conditioning. Should I be concerned?

AAD BombardierOur answer comes from Dr. Garry Bombardier of The Work Connection. 

Question: We’ve had some hot weather this summer. My mother is older and refuses to use air conditioning. Should I be concerned? 

Answer: Heat can be a huge problem for people as they age. Older people can have a hard time managing their body temperature simply because aging can cause hardened arteries and changes in the nervous system.

Things to look for include:

  • Looking hot and red
  • Lack or perspiration
  • Altered mental status and confusion
  • Light-headedness

Being over heated can cause seizures or impairments of the heart function. Both children and elderly people need to be watched closely when the weather gets warmer. Make sure they have plenty of non-sugary fluids available and at least a fan, if not air conditioning. This is not only to make them more comfortable, but to make them safer.

‘Ask a Doc’ is a weekly post by Holyoke Medical Center. To ask a question, please feel free to submit to webadministrator@holyokehealth.com and we will do our best to answer it.

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