Cool tips for helping seniors beat the heat

Published on May 22, 2017 with 1 Comment

Special to MiltonLocal.com

Summer is almost here and temperatures are beginning to rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more people die from heat waves each year than from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes combined. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to being adversely affected by excessive heat due to slower adjustment of the body to changes in temperature, increased risks associated with other medical conditions and prescription medicines that can impair the body’s ability to regulate temperature or inhibit perspiration.

Be aware of the following cool tips for beating the heat:

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible.
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device during an extreme heat event.
  • Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
  • Don’t use the stove or oven to cook—it will make you and your house hotter.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
  • Check the local news for health and safety updates.
  • Seek medical care immediately if you have, or someone you know has, symptoms of heat-related illness like muscle cramps, headaches, nausea or vomiting.

 

Older adults and their caregivers are also encouraged to learn the signs and first aid response for heat-related illnesses.

Heat exhaustion symptoms:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Cold, pale and clammy skin
  • Weak pulse
  • Fainting and vomiting

If heat exhaustion symptoms are present:

  • Move to a cooler location.
  • Lie down and loosen your clothing.
  • Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible.
  • Sip water.
  • Seek medical attention if you have vomited and it continues.

Heat stroke symptoms:

  • High body temperature (above 103 degrees F)
  • Hot, red, dry or moist skin
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Possible unconsciousness

 

If heat stroke symptoms are present:

  • Call 911 immediately – this is a medical emergency.
  • Move the person to a cooler environment.
  • Reduce the person’s body temperature with cool cloths or a bath.
  • Do NOT give fluids.

Council on Aging of West Florida is also accepting donations of new fans and 5,000- or 12,000-BTU window air conditioning units to help local seniors beat the heat. Additionally, we welcome monetary donations that will be used for the purchase of additional fans and air conditioning units. Please drop off your donations at the Council on Aging office located at 875 Royce Street in Pensacola, or call (850) 432-1475 for more information.

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1 Comment

There are currently 1 Comment on Cool tips for helping seniors beat the heat. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

  1. Sure couldn’t agree more with your article. Summer is here and Seniors need to especially be more careful!

    Do you think that enough is being done to prevent heat related injuries to our seniors?

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