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Front Page » June 3, 2010 » Focus » Carbon County seniors can enjoy season's warm weather, su...
Published 1,422 days ago

Carbon County seniors can enjoy season's warm weather, summertime safely


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Many people look forward to the warm weather, particularly senior citizens. Spending time outdoors can be healthy and refreshing, but seniors exposed to too much sun and heat could be at risk medically.

Each year exposure to high temperatures and humidity leads to hundreds of deaths across the country. Seniors comprise a large percentage of heat-related illnesses and deaths. Seniors have a harder time adjusting to extreme temperatures than younger adults, which puts them at risk. Also, certain pre-existing medical conditions and medications could make older individuals more susceptible to heat-related illness.

One of the factors contributing to seniors' risk of health implications from hot weather is their loss of the sensation of thirst as they grow older. Without the desire to drink regularly, individuals could become dehydrated very easily. This, factored in with changes in body temperature regulation, can result in confusion, falls and other preventable adverse effects.

Safety is of utmost concern during the warm weather. Do not take any situation lightly because it could impact one's health. Here are some precautions to follow.

* Move slowly: Rushing around in hot weather can cause body temperature to rise more quickly and make you even hotter. Slow down when it is warm and do plenty of relaxing.

* Know the ambient temperature indoors: The heat inside can quickly rise. Keep curtains and blinds drawn to reduce the amount of heat from the sun. Check the thermostat to find out the temperature. If you have an air conditioner or fan, turn it on to cool down the house if the temperature is creeping above 85 F. Otherwise, seek a cooler location until your home cools down.

* Drink plenty of fluids: Beverages such as water, fruit juices, decaffeinated teas and the like can keep you hydrated and in top form. Avoid alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and caffeinated products.

* Skip hot, heavy meals: Opt for cooler fare, such as cold sandwiches, fruit and salads, to keep your body temperature cooler.

* Plan outdoor activities during cooler hours: If you must spend time outdoors, do so early in the morning or in the evening when the temperatures are bound to be lower and less taxing.

* Indulge in a little "cooling off": Take a dip in a neighborhood pool or treat yourself to an ice cream sundae. Do what you need to stay cool.

* Don't ignore signs of health problems: If you feel dizzy, have shortness of breath, have stopped sweating, or confusion, it could be heat exhaustion. Call for medical help immediately.

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