Keeping The Elderly Cool

1 decade 4 months 1 hour ago Tuesday, August 14 2007 Aug 14, 2007 Tuesday, August 14, 2007 4:16:17 PM CDT August 14, 2007 in News

Nurse Barbara Simpson says with all the hot weather in mid-Missouri, senior citizens are having a tough time.

"They need to be extra careful about how they handle the heat because they don't have the mechanisms to sweat which is how our bodies cool ourselves," she said.

Simpson says bright sun and extreme heat can be fatal, as was the case for a Huntsville woman who died last week.

While the Randolph County Health Department says it can tell seniors to stay cool, sometimes they have to go about checking on them by driving around.

Nurse Jean Myers drives from house to house to check on seniors who qualify for her services. She makes sure seniors are staying healthy and staying cool.

"We usually try and encourage them to make sure they have their air conditioner on in this hot weather," she said. "I can tell that they're dehydrated by checking their skin and their temperature."

Myers says that while she can convince most seniors to cool off, some seniors don't know they're too hot.

"One of the biggest problems we see are people that are confused; if they've got some cognitive deficits, they don't realize they're hot and it takes a little bit more to convince them that maybe they need to turn their air conditioner on."

For all seniors, health officials gave some tips to stay cool:

Drink lots of water.

Keep your home well-ventilated, which means windows open and fans on. If you have air-conditioning, use it.

Wear light-colored and lightweight clothing.

Eat light and cooler meals -- no big meals.

If you have a loved one or friend who's a senior citizen, it's a good idea to check on them regularly during the extreme heat.

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