Health

Older adults and the dangers of extreme heat

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Hot weather is dangerous, especially to people aged 65 and older who do not adjust well to sudden changes in temperatures.

Older adults are more prone to heat-related health problems because of underlying health factors that effect a body’s normal response to heat. Prescription medications also play a factor in the body’s ability to control its temperature or sweat.

A study by the University of Chicago Medical Center found that 40 percent of heat-related fatalities in the U.S. were among people over 65.

Dehydration is the root of many heat related issues. Drink plenty of water, even if you’re not thirsty. Avoid alcoholic beverages and limit caffeinated drinks because they can contribute to dehydration. If your doctor limits the amount of fluids you drink, as your doctor how much water you should drink during hot weather.

Avoid being outdoors between 10 am and 6 pm when the periods of heat are most intense, and instead run errands when the temperature is cooler in the early mornings or at night.

Sunburns affect your body’s ability to cool down and can make you dehydrated, so don’t forget the sunscreen. Wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and apply it 30 minutes before going outdoors.

When it’s hot outside, wear light colored clothing that is lightweight and loose fitting. Avoid exercise and strenuous activities and stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. Take cool showers or baths, and use the stove or oven less because it will help keep your home cooler.

If you are a caregiver, it is important to keep a close eye on those in your care. The Centers for Disease Control recommends vising them at least twice a day and ensure they are drinking enough water, have adequate access to air conditioning and are not showing any signs of heat stress.

Dizziness, nausea, headache, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, breathing problems and muscle cramps are all warning signs of a heat-related illness.

Hearthstone Communities : 920 North Seminary Avenue, Woodstock, IL 60098 : 815.338.2110 : www.hearthstonewoodstock.org

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