The Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler TD (pictured), has advised older people to stay safe during the hot weather with high temperatures forecast for the coming days.
People aged over 65 and those with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, dementia and conditions affecting their breathing, heart and kidneys can be particularly vulnerable at this time.
Minister Butler said: “Heat stress, heat exhaustion and heatstroke are potentially serious health risks for people during a heatwave. I urge older people, and anyone caring for someone, to take steps to stay cool and hydrated and monitor for signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion.
“It is important to remember that your GP or pharmacist will be able to advise you if any of your medicines might make you more likely to become ill from the heat”.
The Minister issued the following guidance:
Stay hydrated: Make sure you have enough water to drink; an adult needs approximate 2 litres of liquid over 24 hours. Put drinks in the fridge to cool.
Keep ventilated: Ensure you have adequate ventilation in your house.
Stay out of direct sunlight: Stay out of direct sunlight for prolonged periods as much as possible during the day, especially between the hours of 11am to 3pm when UV is strongest.
Minister Butler is particularly urging those who are caring for someone to be vigilant, commenting: “If you are caring for someone, they may not have a sense of how much they are drinking. To help them, make sure they drink during mealtimes and offer food with a high water content.”
Early intervention is essential if someone becomes unwell due to heat exhaustion, heatstroke or dehydration and people are advised to contact their GP or seek medical attention if you become dizzy, disorientated, have not urinated, or have an increased heart rate.
Minister Butler is also reminding older people to stay Sunsmart: wear clothing that covers skin; apply sunscreen – at least factor 30; put on a wide brimmed hat; seek shade; wear sunglasses; and limit the amount of time in the sun.
For further advice, visit the HSE’s website.