Protecting the elderly from dangers of overheating

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St. Louis summers bring the heat, which can be particularly dangerous for the elderly population. Aging reduces the body’s ability to adjust to heat and sense temperature extremes, making the elderly more susceptible to heat-related disorders. Seniors are also more likely to have medical conditions or take medications, which impair the body’s ability to respond to heat.

Ryan Whittington, managing partner with Seniors Home Care, visits Fox 2 News at 11 with the following tips and information to protect senior citizens from heat-related illness.

• Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids (even if you don’t feel thirsty). Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which contribute to dehydration. Do not use salt tablets without consulting a doctor.
• Stay indoors during the heat of the day. Seniors without air conditioning should seek a cool space during extreme heat. The mall, library, or movie theater, are popular options.
• Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing. Protect your face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
• Eat light and frequent meals.
• Review medications with a doctor. some medications can affect the body`s ability to stay hydrated and handle the heat.
• Take time to cool off. A shower or bath can be an excellent way to bring down body temperature.
• Slow down. Reduce, eliminate, or reschedule strenuous activities. High-risk individuals should stay in cool places get plenty of rest to allow your natural 'cooling system' to work.
• Know the signs of heat-related illness. Dizziness, nausea, headache, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, fainting or breathing problems are all signs to seek help.

Seniors Home Care is also hosting a job fair Tuesday, July 11 between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. at the Riverchase of Fenton Recreation Center.


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