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2013-07-04

Do you have a cool neighbor?

Contributed

For the fourth year, the AACOG Bexar Area Agency on Aging's Alamo Service Connection (ASC) is protecting the health and safety of seniors in our community through the 2013 "Do You Have A Cool Neighbor?" program- a special project to protect seniors in our community from the dangers of extreme heat during the South Texas summer.
Tragically, seniors in our community have become seriously ill or have died during our hot Texas summers. Many of these incidents may have been prevented by educating seniors about how to know when they are suffering from the heat and what they can do to protect themselves.
The essential message of our 2013 "Do You Have a Cool Neighbor?" Program is: • When the temperature inside your home reaches 85 degrees, you must take action to protect yourself by turning on a fan or air conditioner, or going to a cooler location. • Community resources are available to help with high energy bills if a person is eligible. • Friends, neighbors and others should be aware of vulnerable people in the community, check on them, and alert them to heat-related risks.
• As a community we need to come together and care about those in our community.
In 2008, elderly twin sisters died in their home from the heat-even though they had air conditioning in the home and the means to pay their utilities, they chose not to use it.
It's important to remember that if the temperature in your house reaches 85 degrees or higher, turn your air conditioner or fan on, or go to a cooler place.
Heat related signs and symptoms:
Mild Level 1 (Heat Cramps)
(May experience one or all symptoms)
• Muscle cramps in stomach, arms, legs
• Swelling in the feet and ankles
• Dizziness
• Feeling faint & lightheaded
Take Action!
• Drink cool water
• Stay cool
• Sit or lie down
More Serious Level II (Heat Exhaustion)
(May experience one or all symptoms)
• Dizziness with weakness
• Vomiting
• Sweating a lot, or cool and clammy skin
• Nausea / Sick Stomach
• Exhaustion
• Muscle Cramps
• Clumsy Movements
• Rapid Pulse
Take Action!
• Drink cool water
• Take a cool sponge bath or shower
• Sit or lie down
Most Serious Level III (Heat Stroke Emergency)
(May experience one or all symptoms)
• Nausea
• Disorientation
• Seizures
• Unconsciousness or coma
Take Action!
• Seek medical attention immediately (Call 911)
• Immediately cool body while waiting for help
• Remove clothing and place ice bags in armpit and around neck
• Give fluids if person is conscious and able to swallow
Remember, during hot summer days, to always drink plenty of fluids (avoid alcoholic drinks), wear loose fitting clothing, when outside, use an umbrella, hat, and sun screen, and "Check on your Neighbor!"