With the hottest temperatures experienced in Ireland for decades, this weekend we are urging family members and carers to set ‘Drink Water’ reminders on mobile phones to keep people with brain injury hydrated during the heatwave.
As we know, short term memory loss and other memory problems are extremely common among people with brain injury which places this group at high risk of dehydration. The charity’s CEO, Barbara O’Connell said: “During this heatwave we are very concerned about hydration for people living with a brain injury and for their carers. The reality is that many of our brain injury survivors will not remember to drink water and will not recognise if they are becoming dehydrated. They will be dependent on those around them to prompt them to drink more fluids than usual in this hot weather.”
In these exceptional circumstances with red and amber weather alerts, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland is urging carers to set extra ‘drink water’ reminders for themselves and people with brain injury. The charity added that, “too often family carers put themselves last and it’s vital that carers look after themselves and stay hydrated”.
Additionally, the national brain injury charity has warned about watching for unusual levels of confusion which may be a sign of heatstroke. Ms O’Connell added: “Fatigue is commonly experienced by many people after brain injury and without enough rest, symptoms can worsen such as experiencing memory difficulties, poor concentration or confusion. Under normal circumstances we advise more rest but in this hot weather, it is really important not to ignore the possibility that confusion may also occur due to onset of heatstroke.”
While the charity’s primary concern is the risk of dehydration, there are other practicalities to remember. For instance, some people with brain injury may not recognise the need to wear lighter clothing, wear a hat or wear sunscreen and they may not be aware of avoiding the peak sunshine hours between 11am and 3pm.
Tips in hot weather for people with brain injury:
· Set extra ‘drink water’ reminders on mobile phones
· Keep the environment cool in shade and wear light clothing
· Keep taking medications as normal
· Watch out for unusual signs of confusion
For more information about signs of heatstroke see www.hse.ie