Senior Citizens & Heat Related Illness
Seniors are at higher risk of heat-related illness due to poor circulation, medications, and illness that may affect skin and other sensory organs. Every summer there are reports of seniors found near death or dead in sweltering homes.
Once the temperature reaches 90 degrees preventive measures must be taken to prevent heat-related illnesses. These tips will help you stay safe and healthy.
- Get out of a hot environment - Seniors get out of the heat; spend part of the day in an air-conditioned building like a mall or library or movie theater.
- Stay in the shade - When you are outdoors stay out of direct sun when possible. There can be a ten to 15-degree difference in the temperature when you are in the shade.
- Limit outdoor activities - If you must go outside try to limit these excursions to early morning or later in the evening when temperatures are lower.
- Use fans, even if you have air conditioning - A fan in each room will help to circulate air and lower temperatures. They can also help to reduce air conditioner use and save money on electric bills.
- Cool your body temperature - If possible, take a cool bath. Cool water will help you to dissipate body heat.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing in lighter colors - Dark colors will absorb heat. Light-colored, loosely woven cotton and linen (natural fibers) are much cooler than knits and synthetic fabrics.
- Drink plenty of fluids - Try to drink 8 to 10, 8-ounce cups of liquid daily. Chilled drinks can make you feel cooler. Remember not to drink too many beverages with caffeine. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit because they have a high water content.
- Avoid alcohol - Alcohol will cause dehydration and may make you unaware of the actual temperature.
- Salt and electrolytes - Don’t take salt tablets unless you check with your doctor first. You get enough salt from your food or drinking sports drinks like Gatorade.