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Elderly people (that is, people aged 65 years and older) are more prone to heat stress than younger people for several reasons:

  • Elderly people do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperatures.
    They are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that upsets normal body responses to heat.

  • They are more likely to take prescription medicines that impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibit perspiration.


You can follow these prevention tips to prevent yourself from heat-related stress:

  • Drink cool, nonalcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages. If you are limited to the amount of fluid to drink ask your doctor about how much you should drink when the weather is hot. Avoid extremely cold liquids, they can cause cramps.
  • Rest.
  • Take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath.
  • If possible, seek an air-conditioned environment.
  • If you do not have air conditioning, visit a shopping mall or public library to cool off.
  • Wear lightweight clothing.
  • Remain indoors in the heat of the day.
  • Do not engage in strenuous activities.
  • Sunscreens and sun blockers with a protection factor of 15 (SPF 15) can be very helpful when one is exposed to extreme direct sunlight.
  • Keep warm areas ventilated if not cooled. Proper ventilation will promote adequate sweat evaporation to cool the skin.

If you have elderly relatives or neighbors, you can help them
protect themselves from heat-related stress and enjoy a hot summer day:

  • Visit older adults at risk and watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
  • Take them to air-conditioned locations if they have transportation problems.
  • Make sure older adults have access to an electric fan whenever possible.
  • Take them cool drinks, popsicles, juices, frozen treats, salads, fresh fruits and vegetables.
©2007 St. James Catholic Church, Hopewell, VA