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Tips for Berks Seniors to Stay Cool During the Summer

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Tips for Berks Seniors to Stay Cool During the Summer

Sacred Heart Villa of Laureldale, outside of Reading, PA is a personal care home that serves seniors. The staff at Sacred Heart Villa encourages all older adults to enjoy summer and to stay safe. Below is background and tips to stay cool.

Nearly 400 Americans die from heat stroke caused by heat waves each year and most of the victims are elderly. Heat stroke is defined typically as hyperthermia exceeding 106 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop over a number of days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids.
 Elderly people, particularly those with high blood pressure, are the most likely to suffer, since they are least able to control the environment they are in. Factors such as not being able to afford adequate air conditioning or not being able to move from a hot environment to a cooler one are common causes for the elderly.
 The elderly are the most likely age group to suffer from non-exertional heat stroke because of other preexisting illnesses such as dementia, heart disease, obesity and diabetes compounded by the use of medication - especially diuretics or medications prescribed for hypertension and Parkinson's disease that may affect their volume status or sweating ability. Since poorer circulation makes many seniors feel too cold in air conditioned spaces they may want to reach for a sweater, even when it's hot outside.
There are a number of symptoms to watch for in the onset of heat exhaustion and the more serious heat stroke. These symptoms can often be confused with other conditions, leaving the condition ignored. Symptoms may include:

• heavy sweating
• tiredness
• weakness
• headache
• nausea
• fainting
• rapid pulse
• hot, dry skin
• confusion/ change in mental status

If you observe an elderly person with any of these symptoms, it is considered a medical emergency and 911 should be called immediately.
If a person appears to be suffering from symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, take actions to assist them to recover by moving them to a cooler environment, get them to drink cool, non-alcoholic drinks and cool them rapidly by fanning them and, if possible, cover them with cool, damp sheets.

To avoid the onset of heat-related conditions, elderly people can take some simple actions to minimize the risk:

• drink non-caffeinated liquids frequently and at regular intervals
• eat cool, water-rich foods such as salads, fruit, ice cream, Jello, yogurt
• keep blinds and curtains closed at home to keep the sun out
• shop in air-conditioned malls, spend time at the local senior center
• try to complete all errands in one place rather than getting in and out of a hot vehicle
• wear breathable clothing of natural fibers, such as cotton and linen.