It's been terribly hot here this summer and one of the most vulnerable age groups is our seniors. A University of Chicago Medical Center study found that 40% of heat related deaths in the U.S. were among folks over 65. Inability to notice changes in body temperature, existing health conditions and lack of fluids are all contributing factors. Here are 7 tips that might save a senior's life.
This common sense suggestion identifies the root of many heat related problems. Drinking lots of water or other fluids including fruit juice is critical even if you're not thirsty. Alcoholic and caffeinated drinks should be avoided as they can actually contribute to dehydration.
Light colored and loose fitting, lightweight clothing topped with a wide-brimmed hat are perfect for the hottest days.
It's best to stay indoors during these dog-days of summer. Plan your day so that necessary errands occur before 10:00AM or after 6:00PM.
Heat stroke is not limited to outdoor activities. It's a good idea to take it easy whenever the mercury heads towards triple digits.
When it's hot, sweating is a good thing. But when the humidity jumps up along with the temperature, your body's ability to sweat is impaired. We here in the Sacramento Valley are fortunate that our heat is dry heat. But it's still a good idea to keep an eye on the heat index. When there's a concern, local weather reports can usually be counted on to alert us.
For the elderly, air conditioning is not a luxury. If you're home is not air conditioned during a heat wave it's strongly advised that during the heat of the day you visit a mall or library or even a movie theater. Some cities have opened "cooling centers". As a last resort take a cool bath or shower, anything to lower the body temperature.
Dizziness, nausea, headache, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, fainting and breathing problems are all warning signs. Smoke from wildfires can, of course, exacerbate these symptoms. If you notice any of them you should get to an emergency room or otherwise seek help immediately.