Jun 9, 2021


Interviewer: Heat stroke and the elderly. Dr. Scott Youngquist, when should we be concerned about grandma and the heat?

Dr. Youngquist: Well, Scott, any time it gets hot or particularly humid, we need to be concerned about the elderly. There are a couple of reasons for this. One is that as we age our ability to dissipate heat through natural mechanisms decreases. Also, the elderly frequently have medical conditions that put them on medications that compound this effect.

Interviewer: Is there a certain temperature or humidity that I should start getting concerned?

Dr. Youngquist: Well, above 75% humidity, sweating no longer becomes an effective mechanism for reducing body temperature. Any time the ambient temperature is above 85 or 90 degrees, we should be concerned about the elderly.

Interviewer: All right, and if they don't have air conditioning, what can we do?

Dr. Youngquist: Well, we need to move them to a cooler location, drink lots of fluids, particularly electrolyte balanced solutions, and get a fan on them.

updated: June 9, 2021
originally published: July 26, 2017

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