Seniors, more vunerable to heat, need to take extra precautions
Seniors head to cooling stations during heat (Glenn Fawcett/Baltimore Sun / July 5, 2012)
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- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
More than 1,500 people die every year from excessive heat, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – more than the mean number of people who die from tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and lightening combined.
There are several reasons seniors can’t take the heat well. Their medications sometimes impede the body’s ability to regulate temperatures or perspire and their bodies react differently because of chronic conditions, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One senior care company, Home Instead Senior Care, offers these tips:
+Keep a glass of water in every room and drink often.
+Store clothes made of dark colors and heavy materials and wear short sleeves, lightweight rayons and cottons and light-colored clothing to reflect heat.
+Stay out of the sun midday and do outdoor chores early or late.
+Do even indoor chores in the evenings, and save high heat times between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. for napping, reading and television.
+Draw the blinds to keep out the sun and stay in air conditioning as much as possible.
+If there’s no air conditioning go to the mall, local cooling stations or other place and read or drink cool fluids. Find a list of Baltimore's cooling stations here.
+If increasing air conditioning is too costly, add a fan or small window unit.
+Eat a salad rather than meat because proteins increase metabolic heat production and promote water loss.