Stay cool and be safe in hot weather

Although we may see significant news about the deaths of young athletes due to heat, older adults and senior citizens are more likely to be at risk for serious effects of heat due to the body’s decreased ability to cool itself with age. In addition, older Americans generally drink less fluid, and take some medications that could increase their risk for the effects of too much heat. According to The Daily Briefing on June, 26, 2014, published by The Advisory Board health consultants, “Excessive heat is responsible for 117 deaths each year, and another 1,800 people die annually from illnesses made worse by the heat.”

With warmer summer temperatures here and the 4th of July holiday weekend approaching, I thought it would be a great time to share some important tips about safety in hot weather that I read recently on the Aspirus Senior Health website that Dr. Jodi Punke shared.

Here are some signs you should move to a cooler environment when you are out in the heat if you feel/have:

Feel light headed

Muscle cramps

ncreased fatigue


If you stop sweating, you need to seek immediate attention.

In hot weather, it’s important to drink fluids (not alcohol) and seek an air conditioned environment. Here are some tips from the National Institute on Aging, if you suspect someone is suffering from a heat-related illness:

Get the person out of the heat and into a shady, air-conditioned or other cool place.

Urge the person to lie down.

If you suspect heat stroke, call 911.

Encourage the individual to shower, bathe or sponge off with cool water.

Apply a cold, wet cloth to the wrists, neck, armpits, and/or groin. These are places where blood passes close to the surface of the skin, and the cold cloths can help cool the blood.

If the person can swallow safely, offer fluids such as water, fruit and vegetable juices, but avoid alcohol and caffeine.

Besides staying cool and being safe in hot weather, don’t forget to have fun! Have a happy, healthy and safe 4th of July!

For more information see, call Aspirus Keweenaw Home Health and Hospice at 337-5700 or talk to your health care provider.

Editor’s note: Gladys Polzien is the director of operations at Aspirus Keweenaw Home Health and Hospice.