Extreme heat causes concerns for elderly


As temperatures continue to climb, heat exhaustion is becoming a real concern, particularly in the elderly.

A 74-year-old Winston County woman, who was mowing her lawn, suffered an apparent heart attack Monday. According to the coroner, she had preexisting conditions, but died due to the extreme heat.

With temperatures continuing to rise, we spoke with a Neshoba County doctor about how to keep the elderly safe in extreme heat.

“As we age, the elderly just don’t have as much of a reserve for the heat as younger people do. They’re used to being able to do these things for themselves so they don’t necessarily want to have to ask for help. They’re on medications that can make them prone to dehydration. Those are definitely things that put them more at risk,” said Dr. Hailey Thompson of Neshoba Medical Associates.

Thompson said there are plenty of signs of heat exhaustion to be aware of if you are working outside in extreme temperatures.

“In the elderly, a big one might be confusion. That’s a serious warning sign. And if you saw that you would definitely want to seek medical care, but also dizziness, headache, fatigue or weakness, not feeling well, those are all things you would want to look for,” said Dr. Thompson.

There are also several actions you should take immediately to prevent the condition from worsening.

“If any of this happens, you want to give them access to cool water to drink. Get them inside somewhere with the air conditioner. It’s not enough just to have a fan. You really need access to an air conditioner,” said Thompson.

She also suggested drinking sugar-free sports drinks to replenish electrolytes.