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Keep watch on seniors in summer

Today is the first day of summer, but we have already been encountering 90-degree days with 100-plus-degree heat indexes.

A recent study from the University of Chicago Medical Center showed that 40 percent of heat-related fatalities in the United States were among people over 65. A large reason for that statistic is because people over 65 tend to have medical issues  and need medication and the heat takes an extra toll on them.

Now is the time, more than ever, that individuals pay attention to the elderly residents  in their families and neighborhoods.

Did you know …

• Antidepressants and antihistamines act on an area of the brain that controls the skin’s ability to make sweat. If a person can’t sweat, they are at risk for overheating.

• Beta-blockers reduce the ability of the heart and lungs to adapt to stresses, including hot weather. This also increases a person’s likelihood of heat stroke and other heat-related illnesses. Amphetamines can raise body temperature.

• Diuretics act on kidneys and encourage fluid loss. This can quickly lead to dehydration in hot weather.

• Sedatives can reduce a person’s awareness of physical discomfort, which means symptoms of heat stress may be ignored.

If you know people on these types of medications, old or young, keep extra alert  to help ensure their safety this summer.