Nazareth doctor provides tips to help elderly beat the heat

Helpful advice on how to beat the heat.

Though not as brutal as summer 2016, this summer has had some scorchers. Whenever the thermometer is glowing red, it’s a good idea to check in on neighbors, especially senior citizens.

Dr. Jeff Olson of Nazareth Hospital said that individuals typically over the age of 65 are more at risk of heat-related illnesses than younger people.

This is because of several reasons, including a higher percentage of medical conditions, and that the body does not adapt to the temperature as quickly. They do not sweat as much as younger adults, and store fat differently, which can complicate internal heat regulation.

In the event of another heat advisory like the one that happened July 20, senior citizens have options for self-care. The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging operates a Heatline during heat waves for emergencies. The number is 215–765–9040.

To avoid emergencies, Olson said it is a good idea to wear loose-fitting clothing, drink eight ounces of water every few hours to stay hydrated, and avoid leaving shady or air-conditioned areas.

If seniors don’t have air conditioning in their home, they can try to get themselves to a shopping mall or another public place that does. Seniors are encouraged to avoid leaving the house if at all possible, though.

PCA also advises to eat lightly, avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol, and to pace oneself during intense heat.

Olson stressed that staying cool during the heat should be a community issue, and advised residents to check in on senior neighbors during heat.

If someone is suffering due to a heat-related illness, try to cool them down by giving them a cool shower, keeping them in shade, making sure they’re hydrated, and changing them into lighter clothing.

Symptoms of heat-related illness include sweating, tiredness, dizziness, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, paleness, rapid breathing and an elevated heart rate.

PCA has a center at 642 N. Broad St. To learn more about the center, visit PCACares.org ••

Logan Krum can be reached at lkrum@newspapermediagroup