Heat & The Elderly
Excessive heat is the leading cause of preventable, weather-related deaths each year, particularly among the elderly.
- Elderly persons and small children are mostly affected
- Persons with weight or alcohol problems
- Persons on certain medications or drugs
- Drink at least two to four glasses of water per hour during extreme heat, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine.
- Slow down on strenuous activity and exercise, especially during the sun’s peak hours of 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Exercise should be done in the early morning between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.
- Eat less protein and more fruits and vegetables. Protein produces and increases metabolic heat, which causes water loss. Eat small meals, but eat more often. Do not eat salty foods.
- If possible, stay out of the sun and stay in air conditioning. The sun heats the inner core of your body, resulting in dehydration. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sunshine, or go to a public building with air conditioning
- If you must go outdoors, wear sunscreen with a high sun protector factor rating (at least SPF 15) and a hat to protect your face and head. When outdoors, wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing. Cover as much skin as possible to avoid sunburn and over-warming effects of sunlight on your body..
- Make an effort to check on your neighbors during a heat wave, especially if they are elderly, have young children or have special needs. Make sure there is enough food and water for pets
Know the Signs of Heat Related Illness
Prolonged exposure to the heat can be harmful and potentially fatal. Call 911 if you or someone you know shows signs or symptoms of heat illness, including:
- Light headedness
- Muscle cramps