Emergency Nurses Association Provides Summer Heat Relief for Seniors

POSTED: July 17, 2018

The Indiana State Council of the Emergency Nurses Association has donated $2,000 to CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions to provide summer heat relief to low-income seniors in Central Indiana. The funds were used to purchase 12 air conditioners and eight fans, which are being distributed to CICOA clients who need them.

The contribution is to bring awareness to National Heatstroke Prevention Day on July 31, according to Kathy Hendershot, director of nursing operations for emergency services and behavioral health at Indiana University Health and chair of the Injury Prevention Committee of the Indiana ENA. 

“ENA wanted to contribute to a great cause that also cares about ENA’s mission of injury prevention,” Hendershot said. “By giving to CICOA’s cause for heat relief, we hope to raise public awareness about preventing heat-related injuries.”

In hot weather, heat stroke is a serious risk among seniors. People over age 65 are prone to heat-related stress, particularly if they have chronic medical conditions that change normal body responses to heat. Common medications, such as diuretics, sedatives, seizure medicines, blood pressure pills, antidepressants and other pain medications can increase the risk of heat stroke in the elderly.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness, which occurs when a body is unable to regulate temperature and unable to cool down. The body loses its ability to sweat, and internal temperature can rise rapidly to 104-106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Heat stroke requires immediate emergency treatment.

Warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include:

  • An extremely high body temperature (above 103°F)
  • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Muscle cramping
  • Paleness
  • Fainting
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness
  • Symptoms can develop rapidly or slowly over a period of days.

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