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Seniors more at risk for heat complications

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“Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable. Despite this fact, more than 600 people in the U.S. are killed by extreme heat every year,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says.

Senior citizens are especially vulnerable to summer’s hot temperatures, “because their bodies can’t adjust as well as young people to sudden temperature changes.” The CDC explains that seniors are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that alters their body’s response to heat. Plus, they are more likely to take prescription medicines that impact the body’s ability to control temperature and sweat.

The CDC urges seniors to stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible on hot days to avoid heat-related illnesses, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. Other heat-induced problems include headaches, nausea, and vomiting.

“If your home doesn’t have air conditioning, contact your local health department or locate an air -conditioned shelter in your area,” the CDC advises. Drink more water than usual in hot weather to prevent dehydration. If a medical condition necessitates a fluid restriction, contact your health care provider for determining the maximum amount allowed.

The American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) adds, “Heat cramps are the first stage of a heat emergency. The signs are muscle pain and tightness. The signs of heat exhaustion can include irritability, pale skin, and fainting. In heatstroke, the body temperature can rise above 105-degrees F, people feel confused and may have seizures, and lose consciousness. The victim’s skin may feel very dry from dehydration. Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency; call 911 or go to an emergency room immediately.”

The CDC urges people to check on the elderly during high heat periods, and help them stay cool and well during summer’s high temperatures.

Fox Point : 3300 Charles J. Miler Memorial Highway, McHenry, IL 60050 : 815.322.7166 : http://www.seniorlifestyles.com/foxpoint.

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