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Cool Tips for Beating the Heat06/28/2016

Cool Tips for Beating the Heat

Summer is almost here and temperatures are beginning to rise. The elderly will be particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses like heat stroke and heat exhaustion. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, older adults, especially those taking medications that impair the body%u2019s ability to regulate temperature, should 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%u2019t wait until you%u2019re thirsty to drink.
  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
  • Don%u2019t use the stove or oven to cook%u2014it 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. Warning signs may include:

Heat exhaustion symptoms:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Skin cold, pale and clammy
  • 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 %u2013 this is a medical emergency.
  • Move the person to a cooler environment.
  • Reduce the person%u2019s body temperature with cool cloths or a bath.
  • Do NOT give fluids.

Council on Aging of West Florida is 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 of your donations at the Council on Aging office located at 875 Royce Street in Pensacola, or call 850-432-1475 for more information. 

Photo by Michael Spooneybarger, Studer Institute


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