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Heat & Older Adults

People aged 65 years or older are more prone to heat-related health problems. If you’re an older adult or a caregiver, review this post for information on how you or the person you’re caring for can stay safe during the heat.

WHY ARE OLDER ADULTS MORE PRONE TO HEAT STRESS?

  • Older adults do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature.

  • They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat.

  • They are more likely to take prescription medicines that affect the body’s ability to control its temperature or sweat.

STAY COOL, STAY HYDRATED

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. If your home doesn’t have air conditioning, contact your local health department or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area.

  • Do not rely on a fan as your main cooling source when it’s really hot outside.

  • Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.

  • If your doctor limits the amount of fluids you drink or has you on water pills, ask them how much you should drink during hot weather.

  • Don’t use the stove or oven to cook—it will make you and your house hotter.

  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down.

  • Do not engage in very strenuous activities and get plenty of rest.

  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.

  • Follow additional tips on how to prevent heat-related illness.

STAY INFORMED

  • Check the local news for health and safety updates.

  • Seek medical care immediately if you have, or someone you know has, symptoms of heat-related illness like muscle cramps, headaches, nausea or vomiting.

Caregiver Checklist

​Keep a close eye on those in your care by visiting them at least twice a day, and ask yourself these questions:

  • Are they drinking enough water?

  • ​Do they have access to air conditioning?

  • ​Do they know how to keep cool?

  • ​Do they show any signs of heat stress?

 

This article was provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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