Living

Ways for seniors to beat summer heat

CLEM MURRAY/PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER/MCTVisiting nurse Monica Coleman, right, sits with patient Sandra Randolph, 67, in Randolph's Philadelphia, Pa., home in front of a fan. During heat waves, visiting nurses such as Coleman check up on their patients, taking vitals signs to make sure they are handing the heat.
CLEM MURRAY/PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER/MCTVisiting nurse Monica Coleman, right, sits with patient Sandra Randolph, 67, in Randolph's Philadelphia, Pa., home in front of a fan. During heat waves, visiting nurses such as Coleman check up on their patients, taking vitals signs to make sure they are handing the heat. MCT

The official start of summer is less than a month away. Summer is a time for many to get more active and go outdoors more, and seniors are no exceptions.

Although temperatures are currently mild as we get ready for June, the hot and humid "dog days" of summer are not too far away.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heat exhaustion is a heat-related illness that could affect seniors in the heat.

Heat exhaustion is a mild heat-related illness that can show symptoms after several days of exposure to heat, such as working in the yard or garden. Those who are at the highest risk to develop symptoms of heat exhaustion are those with high blood pressure and those doing activities in high-heat temperatures.

The CDC said the warning signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting and fainting.

A more serious heat-related illness is heatstroke, which can be fatal. This happens when the body is unable to control its temperature. Body temperatures can get as high as 106 degrees in 10 to 15 minutes.

The symptoms of heatstroke include extremely high body temperature, red and hot skin with no sweating, dizziness, confusion and unconsciousness. If you find someone with heatstroke symptoms, it is recommended that you try and cool the person as rapidly as possible and seek medical assistance.

Heat-related illnesses can be avoided.

One of the easiest ways to avoid heat exhaustion or heatstroke is by staying hydrated. Drinking additional water and staying away from caffeine drinks will help keep the body hydrated.

Some days, especially during the hottest part of the summer, it's best to stay indoors more during the peak hours of the heat, which are usually in the afternoon. Monitor your local weather to keep up with the heat index, which is a combination of the temperature and humidity, providing as real-time reading of how hot it will actually feel outside.

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