Thursday, July 02, 2009

Extreme Heat Causes Major Health Problems for Older Adults

FF Note: The July 4th holiday is upon us and we know that all of Fayette County will be out and about in the celebrations. Whether it be the early morning Peachtree City Parade, one of the Let Freedom Ring Ceremonies, the annual Peachtree City Fire Department Exhibition at Drake Field, picnics, or the Peachtree City Fireworks, be sure to stay hydrated and find time to get out of the heat. Have a great weekend, Fayette County!

/PRNewswire/ -- As we prepare for hotter, humid weeks ahead and temperatures reach well over 100 degrees in some parts of the country, older adults are at higher risk of health problems if they don't take the proper precautions to protect themselves from the sweltering heat. About 200 Americans die of health problems caused by high heat and humidity every year, most of them are 50 or older. Due to some of the physical changes that happen as we age, older adults can't cool down as easily as others.

The AGS' Foundation for Health and Aging (FHA) suggests these steps for seniors to help stay safe in the summer months:

-- Use air conditioning in the home or go where it's air-conditioned -- a
shopping mall, grocery store, senior center, movie theatre, museum or
library, for example. (Fans are not effective enough to adequately
cool down the body during intense heat waves.)
-- Drink a lot of water and other clear beverages that don't contain
alcohol or caffeine. A good way to measure if enough fluids are being
ingested is to check urine color. If urine is a light yellow color,
enough water is being taken into the body. If it's darker yellow, the
body needs more water.
-- Take cool showers, baths, or sponge baths.
-- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and hats.

Avoid:

-- Extended periods of sun exposure.
-- Walking long distances, lifting heavy objects, or other strenuous
activities.

Below are the most common health problems caused by heat:

-- Dehydration: Weakness, headache, muscle cramps, dizziness, confusion
and passing out.
-- Heat stroke: A body temperature of or above 103 degrees; red, hot and
dry skin; a fast pulse; headache, dizziness, nausea or vomiting,
confusion and passing out.
-- Heat exhaustion: Heavy sweating or no sweating, muscle cramps,
tiredness, weakness, paleness, cold or clammy skin, dizziness,
headache, nausea or vomiting and fainting.

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