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In Florida, Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Can Lead to Heat-Related Illnesses

In Florida, high heat in the summer can mean safety issues. In the summer, most emergency rooms see a rise in water and heat-related injuries, and an increase in outdoor accidents. In many cases, these common Florida problems can easily be avoided. On hot days, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the common problems.

Most people can stay cool quite easily, but the elderly are at risk. The elderly may need additional help in staying cool and hydrated on hot days, but nursing home and elder abuse inevitably means that some elderly Florida residents are neglected or left in warm conditions, which can be quite dangerous.

There are several tips that help keep elderly loved ones stay safe:

1) Reduce the possibility of heat cramps by ensuring that an elderly loved one stays hydrated and consumes enough sodium. Extra water intake on a hot day and a good diet are often sufficient. Keeping loved one in a cool place and allowing them to rest on hot days is important.

2) Eliminate the risks of heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion can be serious. It can include sweating; fatigue; moist, pale skin, nausea; disorientation, a rapid pulse and fainting. Heat exhaustion can lead to slip and fall accidents. Again, keeping a loved one cool and comfortable is important to prevent heat exhaustion. Make sure that your loved one is not left out in the sun and make sure that he or she gets enough liquids and food.

3) Watch out for heatstroke. Heatstroke can be fatal. Symptoms are the same as that of heat exhaustion, but it addition to those symptoms a patient will often have a fever, hot and dry skin, breathing difficulties, rapid heartbeat, and constricted pupils. This illness can lead to seizures and loss of consciousness. If you suspect heatstroke in an elderly loved one, call 911 immediately.

4) Check on care facilities often. If your loved one is in a care facility, visit often to ensure that your loved one is not left outside. Look for signs of nursing home abuse and negligence and act quickly to prevent illness. Your loved one should be able to access a cool, shaded room at all times and should have cool sleeping conditions at all times. Make sure that your loved one is not left outdoors in the hot weather. Look for red flag signs such as sunburns. Ensure that your loved one is dressed in light clothing during the summer months and can wear a hat outdoors. Make sure that he or she drinks plenty of water and maintains a good appetite to replace electrolytes.

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