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  2001 Press Releases  

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CONTACT: Jan Costello
Phone: 217-785-9020, TTY: 1-800-252-8966

July 23, 2001

Extreme Heat Precautions for Seniors

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Department on Aging Director Margo E. Schreiber reminds senior citizens to take the necessary precautions to stay cool during the heat wave the state is now experiencing.

"Seniors in particular need to take special precautions to avoid serious health threats during days of excessive heat," Schreiber said. "Heat is much harsher on older people and makes them vulnerable to heat exhaustion or heat stroke."

"Many cooling centers are open now so I would advise that seniors take full advantage of them," Schreiber said. "If they donít know where a cooling center is in their area, they can call the Illinois Department on Agingís Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (Voice and TTY) and we will direct them."

Schreiber said when itís hot out, it is important to remember to:

  • Avoid long exposure to the sun;

  • Drink plenty of fluids (water is best);

  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol;

  • Spend as much time as possible in an air-conditioned or cool environment either at home or at cooling centers (community shelters made available during heat emergencies);

  • Use fans in well-ventilated areas (a fan in a closed room simply redistributes the heat);

  • Have family, friends and neighbors check on seniors regularly to see how they are withstanding the heat;

  • Never ignore danger signals like nausea, dizziness and fatigue. If you or anyone you know needs medical attention, call 911 immediately;

  • Take cool baths or showers;

  • Wear lightweight clothing;

  • Avoid strenuous activity, especially during hottest time of the day;

  • Avoid heavy meals, using cooking ovens, and donít take salt tablets unless directed by a physician;

  • Keep shades drawn and blinds closed, but windows slightly open;

  • Keep electric lights off or turned down.

Schreiber said during heat emergencies, communities are involved in door–to–door outreach; senior centers, adult day service sites and other familiar buildings serve as cooling centers; and information is provided on an ongoing basis through the network of local agencies serving older persons.



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For further information about local programs and services available to assist older persons, call the Illinois Department on Agingís Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (Voice and TTY).

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