With the ongoing high temperatures hitting the east coast, many older adults face the risk of heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stress. The following tips are provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help older adults protect themselves during periods of excessive heat:
- Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. Contact your local health department or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area.
- Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device during an extreme heat event.
- Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
- Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
- Don’t use the stove or oven to cook—it will make you and your house hotter.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
- Check the local news for health and safety updates.
- Seek medical care immediately if you have, or someone you know has, symptoms of heat-related illness like muscle cramps, headaches, nausea or vomiting.
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011)
For older adults in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) operates the PCA Heatline during periods of excessive heat. The PCA Heatline is 215-765-9040. At PCA’s Heatline call center, a team of trained staff will counsel callers of all ages about precautions to take against the heat and detecting signs of heat stress. City Health Department nurses will be on-site to speak with callers about medical problems related to the heat. Mobile relief teams from the Health Department will respond to situations requiring intervention, and 911 will be called for emergencies.