With rising temperatures, experts warn elderly to stay hydrated

The Area Agency on Aging said it's important for the elderly to stay active, but they also have to be hydrated

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WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – Staying cool and hydrated are important as the temperature climbs, but it’s even more important for the elderly.

Tennis players were out in the sweltering sun for the Senior Olympics Sports Classic Tournament at Packard Park on Wednesday, and the Area Agency on Aging was also on hand to make sure players stay hydrated. Lots of water, Gatorade and food was available for the players, all in a shaded pavilion where they could cool down.

Lisa Solley, chief of community relations for the Area Agency on Aging, said it’s important for the elderly to stay active, but they also have to be hydrated.

“We also have to remind them to drink, you know, fluids, fluids, fluids,” she said. “We can’t tell them enough, and I’ve gotten the, ‘OK, mom,’ a little, but today, it’s really important because older adults sometimes don’t realize that they need the fluids. They don’t get thirsty as often.”

With high temperatures and humidity predicted across Ohio this week, and the weekend heat index reaching 100 degrees, the weather could prove dangerous to the elderly, as well as young children and people with chronic medical conditions.

The Ohio Department of Health says nine people in Ohio died last year as a result of heat-related illnesses, which occur when people’s bodies are unable to properly cool themselves.

“This type of heat can cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke if you don’t take precautions, so be sure to drink plenty of water and remember to keep cool,” said ODH Medical Director Dr. Mary DiOrio. “Because heat-related deaths are preventable, people need to be aware of who is at greatest risk and what actions can be taken to prevent a heat-related illness or death.”

The American Red Cross recommended the following precautions to stay healthy and prevent heat-related deaths:

  • Never leave children or pets alone in vehicles. The temperature inside can reach a dangerous level within a few minutes.
  • Slow down, take frequent breaks and drink more water than usual – even if you’re not thirsty.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • If working outdoors, take frequent breaks and use the buddy system.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone, or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • If possible, bring animals inside. If not, frequently check to ensure they are comfortable and have water and a shady place to rest.

The symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or fainting. Those experiencing symptoms should move to a shady or air-conditioned area and remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet clothes or towels.

The person should sip on a half glass of cool water every 15 minutes. If the person refuses water, vomits or loses consciousness, call 911 or the local emergency number.

You should also call 911 if a person’s body temperature reaches 103 degrees or higher and he or she has red, hot dry or moist skin and a rapid and strong pulse. Before medical help arrives, begin cooling the person by any means possible, such as spraying him or her with water from a garden hose or by placing the person in a cool tub of water.

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