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Jul 20, 2011 5:38 PM by Dr. Anya Winslow

Healthy heat beating habits

Seniors have difficulty sensing temperature extremes and may not realize they are experiencing heat trauma.

One local organization is stepping-up its effort to help elderly develop healthy heat beating habits.

Warning signs and symptoms of heat trauma include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, body aches, headache, dizziness, muscle cramps, and weakness.

It's recommended that you seek medical attention if you are experience any of those kinds of symptoms.

"People can die [from long-term heat exposure] when their body temperature gets too high," says director of resource development at Silver Key, Lorri Orwig.

One of the easiest recommendations for the elderly to stay cool is to use "cool wash clothes on the backs of their necks, on their wrists, on their heads, those kinds of things...a cool bath will absolutely reduce their temperature," says Orwig.

Other tips to help brave the heat include:

1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Wear light-colored clothing.
3. Limit strenuous activity.
4. Wear a hat and stay in shaded areas when outdoors.
5. Go to air-conditioned facilities (mall, movie theaters, Colorado Springs Senior Center).
6. Take breaks throughout physical activity to give your body a chance to cool down.

91-year old Edgar Jenkins is taking this heat wave seriously and says, "I think it's a good thing to stay out of the heat. I know I got out and did a little bit one day and had sun stroke and ended up with a six day [stay] in the hospital."

He learned that sometimes it is just best to stay inside and drink lots of water. "Stay out of the heat if you're up in years," says Jenkins and he adds, "I try to drink seven, eight, or nine glasses of water a day. Sometimes it's a little hard, you know, but it helps."

Silver Key also provides air-conditioned vehicles to help people get rides to places including restaurants, malls, or movie theaters. Simply call 719-884-2330 if you would like a ride.

When they are available, Silver Key gives out fans to people sixty or over at no cost. Additionally, they will also install a window air conditioning unit if someone needs help.

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