Soaring Summer Heat Puts Older Idahoans at Risk
AARP Provides Warning Signs & Quick Tips to Beat Heat Stress – Reminds People to Check on Elderly Family, Friends & Neighbors
BOISE, Idaho, June 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Summer is wasting no time in Idaho – on just its second official day, temperatures are expected to soar towards 100 degrees across the state. For elderly residents that means greater risk of heat stroke, heat exhaustion and even death.
Today, AARP Idaho is reminding people to check in on elderly family members, friends, and neighbors during the summer heat and is releasing its annual list of warning signs for heat-related illnesses, along with some quick tips on how to avoid them.
On average, excessive heat claims more lives each year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined. The elderly are at much higher risk for heat stress in high temperatures because they do not easily adjust to sudden changes in temperature; are more likely to have a medical condition that changes body response to heat; and often take prescriptions that impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature, or that inhibit sweating.
Recognizing the warning signs of heat-related illnesses is critical to getting timely help. Some common warning signs of heat stroke include: extremely high body temperature, hot and dry skin, or a throbbing headache, while those suffering heat exhaustion may experience heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramping, dizziness or nausea. If you see any of these warning signs call for medical assistance, get the person to a shady area immediately and cool them off.
In addition to checking on older adults, AARP has several tips to help prevent heat-related emergencies:
- Drink plenty of cool, nonalcoholic beverages (even if you aren’t thirsty).
- Do not engage in strenuous activity.
- If possible, stay indoors during the hottest times of the day.
- If there is no air conditioning, stay on the lower-level of homes, also check for air-conditioned building in your community such as such as libraries, public buildings, or air-conditioned malls.
- Wear light-weight, loose fitting clothing and protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat and sunglasses or using an umbrella.
- If suffering from a chronic medical condition, talk with your doctor about additional precautions that should be taken to prevent heat related illness.
Post offices across Idaho offer the Carrier Alert Program, a free service that allows letter carriers to check on the well-being of older adults and the homebound. Check with your local Post Office to see if your community participates, or visit this website for more information: http://www.nalc.org/commun/alert/howcalt.html.
AARP is Idaho’s largest membership organization with over 180,000 members.
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SOURCE AARP Idaho