In order to avoid heat-related problems, seniors should reduce or eliminate strenuous activity during the hottest time of the day, wear light-colored and light-weight clothing, drink plenty of water and stay out of the sun.
Heat illnesses are usually caused by the body's inability to shed enough heat by sweating or when a salt imbalance occurs from too much sweating. Here is what you can do to protect yourself and others:
l Drink lots of fluid, especially if you are forced to be out in the sun.
l Avoid alcoholic beverages, which speed up dehydration.
l Check on your neighbors several times during the day. This is especially important if they are older, in poor health and live alone.
l If you don't have air conditioning, fasten a wet sheet to the window and let the breeze blow through it, or hang a wet sheet between two chairs in front of your fan.
l Use a circulating fan to keep air moving inside your home.
l If you must be outdoors, stay in the shade as much as possible.
Kansas senior citizens who need assistance in obtaining fans should contact their local Area Agency on Aging or a chapter of the American Red Cross.