ATLANTA - The Georgia Department of Human Resources Division of Aging Services is offering tips to help older adults stay cool and avoid heat-related illnesses like heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
"Extreme heat is a problem for our aging population," said Maria Greene, director of the Division of Aging Services. "To help them remain safe and healthy during the summer heat, we are offering guidelines on keeping cool."
Although heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable, many people still succumb to extreme heat yearly. In fact, more than 8,000 people died from exposure to excessive heat in the United States from 1979 to 2003.
As temperatures rise, older people and young children are at a higher risk of heat-related illnesses because they do not adjust well to sudden changes in temperature. People aged 65 and older are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that affects their normal body responses to heat.
Here are some tips for staying cool in extreme heat:
- If you don't have air-conditioning, stay on the lowest floor of your residence or go to a public building such as a library, school, movie theater or shopping mall.
- Eat regular meals that are well-balanced and light.
- Drink plenty of water. (If you have a medical condition that limits your fluid intake or a problem with fluid retention, consult a doctor before increasing liquids.) Limit intake of alcohol and beverages high in sugar.
- Take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath.
- Wear light-weight, loose-fitting clothing and a wide-brimmed hat.
For more information and tips on staying cool in extreme heat, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/ or FEMA at http://www.fema.gov/hazard/heat/heat_during.shtm.