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Cool tips for helping seniors beat the heat May 30, 2017

Summer is almost here and temperatures are beginning to rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more people die from heat waves each year than from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes combined. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to being adversely affected by excessive heat due to slower adjustment of the body to changes in temperature, increased risks associated with other medical conditions and prescription medicines that can impair the body's ability to regulate temperature or inhibit perspiration. 

Be aware of the following cool tips for beating the heat:

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible.
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device during an extreme heat event.
  • Drink more water than usual and don't wait until you're thirsty to drink.
  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
  • Don't use the stove or oven to cook - it will make you and your house hotter.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
  • Check the local news for health and safety updates.
  • Seek medical care immediately if you have, or someone you know has, symptoms of heat-related illness like muscle cramps, headaches, nausea or vomiting.

 Older adults and their caregivers are also encouraged to learn the signs and first aid response for heat-related illnesses.

 Heat exhaustion symptoms:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Cold, pale and clammy skin
  • Weak pulse
  • Fainting and vomiting

 If heat exhaustion symptoms are present:

  • Move to a cooler location.
  • Lie down and loosen your clothing.
  • Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible.
  • Sip water.
  • Seek medical attention if you have vomited and it continues.

 Heat stroke symptoms:

  • High body temperature (above 103 degrees F)
  • Hot, red, dry or moist skin
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Possible unconsciousness

 If heat stroke symptoms are present:

  • Call 911 immediately - this is a medical emergency.
  • Move the person to a cooler environment.
  • Reduce the person's body temperature with cool cloths or a bath.
  • Do NOT give fluids.

Council on Aging of West Florida is also accepting donations of new fans and 5,000- or 12,000-BTU window air conditioning units to help local seniors beat the heat. Additionally, we welcome monetary donations that will be used for the purchase of additional fans and air conditioning units. Please drop off your donations at the Council on Aging office located at 875 Royce Street in Pensacola, or call (850) 432-1475 for more information.


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Please help us provide seniors in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties with the programs and services they need to live healthy, safe and independent lives in their own familiar surroundings. These program and services, which include Meals on Wheels, adult day health care and caregiver support, enable seniors and their caregivers to face an uncertain future with the dignity they deserve.



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Coming of Age Magazine is the only senior - oriented lifestyle publication in Northwest Florida. Locally produced and published in Pensacola, Florida by Council on Aging of West Florida in partnership with Ballinger Publishing.

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