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Hot Weather Tips for Seniors

Too much heat is not safe for anyone. It is even riskier if you are older or have health problems. It is important to get relief from the heat quickly. If not, you might begin to feel confused or faint. Your heart could become stressed and stop beating.

Being hot for too long can be a problem. It can cause several illnesses, all grouped under the name hyperthermia (hy-per-THER-mee-uh):

Who Is at Risk?

Each year, most people who die from hyperthermia are over 50 years old. Health problems that put you at greater risk include:

  • Heart or blood vessel problems
  • Poorly working sweat glands or changes in your skin caused by normal aging
  • Heart, lung, or kidney disease, as well as any illness that makes you feel weak all over or results in a fever
  • Conditions treated by drugs, such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers, and some heart and high blood pressure medicines; they may make it harder for your body to cool itself
  • Taking several prescription drugs; ask your doctor if any of your medications make you more likely to become overheated.
  • Being very overweight or underweight
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages

How Can I Lower My Risk?

Things you can do to lower your risk of heat-related illness:

  • Drink plenty of liquids, such as water or fruit or vegetable juices. Stay away from drinks containing alcohol or caffeine. If your doctor has told you to limit your liquids, ask what you should do when it is very hot.
  • If you live in a home or apartment without fans or air conditioning, try to keep your house as cool as possible. Limit your use of the oven. Keep your shades, blinds, or curtains closed during the hottest part of the day. Open your windows at night.
  • If your house is hot, try to spend time during mid-day some place that has air conditioning—for example, go to the shopping mall, movies, library, senior center, or a friend’s house.
  • If you need help getting to a cool place, ask a friend or relative. Some religious groups, senior centers, and Area Agencies on Aging provide this service. If necessary, take a taxi or call for senior transportation. Don’t stand outside in the heat waiting for a bus.
  • Dress for the weather. Some people find natural fabrics, such as cotton, to be cooler than synthetic fibers.
  • Don’t try to exercise or do a lot of activities outdoors when it’s hot.
  • Avoid crowded places when it’s hot outside.
  • Plan trips during non-rush-hour times.  Source: http://bit.ly/2vSSlYI