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Senior citizens need to take special precautions to avoid overheating in hot weather.

The hot, humid weather is hard on everyone, but it is especially hard on senior citizens. Dr. Amber Barnhart, professor of family and community medicine at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, explains why hot weather can be harmful to the elderly.

[audio:siuhotsenior1.mp3]Dr. Barnhart on Heat[/audio]

Dr. Barnhart says to stay cool, seniors can apply cold wash cloths on their forehead and neck, stay in the shade, and use fans and air conditioning. If their home is not air conditioned, they should go to a mall, a cooling center, or a friend or family member’s home that has air conditioning. She says some health conditions cause even more concern in the hot weather.

[audio:siuhotsenior2.mp3]Heat and prior conditions[/audio]

Dr. Barnhart reminds family members and friends to check on seniors several times a day during heat waves to make sure they are okay. If someone has symptoms of overheating such as dizziness, a feeling that their heart is racing, or shortness of breath, they should be taken quickly to a primary care physician or hospital emergency department.

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