Village Of Poland

High Temperatures For Elderly Individuals

June 17, 2013
Herkimer County Office for the Aging                                  Contact:Melissa Lanphier

Press Release-For Immediate Release                                   315-867-1415

June 17, 2013

High temperatures, combined with high humidity can potentially be dangerous for elderly individuals, particularly those with chronic illness or other medical conditions that require medications.

Seniors and caregivers should also be aware of the symptoms of Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke, which include:  heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, disorientation, nausea or vomiting and fainting.  If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, please call a doctor or 911 immediately.

According to Kathy Fox, Director of the Herkimer County Office for the Aging,

"Here in Herkimer County we are always concerned about senior during the winter months because of the cold and snow, but summer comes with risk for senior citizens also.  We are asking that the family, friends, and neighbors of elderly individuals be aware of the extreme conditions that come with summer, and check on those frail and vulnerable older family members or friends who may be at risk.  Please check to see that your elderly friend or neighbor is not experiencing unusual symptoms that may indicate Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke." 

Director Fox urges all seniors to take the appropriate precautions during extreme heat, and everyone should take extra effort to reach out to check on their elder friends and neighbors, who may be isolated, prone to heat-related illnesses, and simply not aware of the extreme risk.

To avoid heat-related illnesses, follow these recommendations in extreme heat conditions:

  • Avoid the sun, exertion and strenuous activity.

  • Drink plenty of water or diluted fruit juices, avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages.

  • Keep rooms well ventilated, open windows and draw the blinds to block the sun's direct rays. Use an air conditioner to cool down a room.

  • Avoid the midday heat. Complete errands during the cooler morning or evening hours.

  • Wear lightweight, light colored, loose fitting clothing; wear sunscreen and a hat when outdoors.

  • Rest in an air-conditioned area. Consider going cooling centers, air-conditioned senior centers, libraries, stores, malls or other public areas where you can stay cool during the day.

  • Cool down with a bath or shower.

How to Recognize Heat Stroke

Warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include the following:

  • An extremely high body temperature (above 103F, orally)

  •  Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)

  • Rapid, strong pulse

  • Throbbing headache

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea

  • Confusion

  • Unconsciousness

What to Do

If you see any of these signs, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency. Have someone call for immediate emergency medical assistance by dialing 911, while you begin cooling the victim.

Do the following:

  •  Get the victim to a shady area.

  •  Cool the victim rapidly using whatever methods you can. For example, immerse the victim in a tub of cool water; place the person in a cool shower; spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose; sponge the person with cool water; or if the humidity is low, wrap the victim in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously.

  •  Monitor body temperature, and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102F.

  •  If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the
    hospital emergency room for further instructions.

  •  Do not give the victim fluids to drink.

  • Get medical assistance as soon as possible.

Sometimes a victim's muscles will begin to twitch uncontrollably as a result of heat stroke. If this happens, keep the victim from injuring him or herself, but do not place any object in the mouth and do not give fluids. If there is vomiting, make sure the airway remains open by turning the victim on his or her side.

Director Fox said, "You may always call us at the Herkimer County Office for the Aging for assistance, but if you suspect that anyone may be suffering from Heat Stroke or Heat Exhaustion, do not hesitate to call 911.

For more information contact Herkimer County Office for the Aging/NY Connects at 315-867-1415 or go to our website at go to departments then Office for the Aging

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