-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, July 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Summer's heat puts
everyone at potential risk for heat-related illness, but seniors
and people with chronic health problems are especially
Heat illnesses -- collectively known as hyperthermia -- include
heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat fatigue and a life-threatening
condition called heat stroke. A person's risk for heat illness
depends on a number of factors, including outside temperature,
general health and individual lifestyle, according to the U.S.
National Institute on Aging (NIA).
The NIA says individual and health factors that increase the
risk of heat illness include:
Lifestyle factors that increase the risk of heat illness
include: living in housing without air conditioning; not drinking
enough water; not understanding how to respond to weather
conditions; overdressing; going to overcrowded places; having
difficulty getting around; and lack of access to transportation,
according to the NIA.
Older people, especially those with chronic health conditions,
should stay indoors on hot and humid days, especially when there's
an air pollution alert. They should have air conditioning or at
least a fan and air circulation.
People without air conditioning should go to public places that
have air conditioning, such as senior centers, libraries, shopping
malls and movie theaters. Another option is to go to a cooling
center, which are operated by local public health agencies, social
service groups and other organizations in many communities, the NIA
If someone appears to be suffering from heat illness, get them
out of the heat and into a shady, cool or air-conditioned place,
and have them lie down. If you suspect heat stroke, call 911.
Apply cold, wet cloths to the person's wrists, neck, armpits and
groin. Blood passes close to the surface of the skin in these
locations, and placing cold cloths at these points can help cool
the blood. Another option is to help the person bathe or sponge off
with cool water, according to the NIA.
If the person is able to swallow safely, offer them fluids such
as water or fruit and vegetable juices. Don't give them alcoholic
or caffeinated beverages.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about
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