Summer Heat Can be Dangerous, Even Deadly

By Marlo Sollitto, contributing editor

Heat is a potentially deadly problem—nearly 400 Americans die from heat waves each year. Most of them are elderly people who often don’t realize when they are overheating and in danger. However, the elderly and ill aren’t the only people that heat kills. It also kills healthy young people, usually because they do not recognize the dangers of exercising in hot weather, especially hot, humid weather.

When heat and humidity combine to slow evaporation of sweat from the body, outdoor exercise becomes dangerous even for those in good shape. Overheating can cause serious, even life-threatening conditions such as heat stroke.

Next: some tips for keeping cool this summer and avoiding heat stroke…

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Protecting Seniors from Dangerous Heat originally appeared on

  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and to slow down and cool off when feeling fatigued or having a headache, a high pulse rate or shallow breathing.
  • Stay away from iced coffee and other highly caffeinated drinks, or sodas loaded with sodium, which is bad for heart health. Also avoid alcohol, which is dehydrating, when temperatures soar.
  • Enjoy the summer in shady areas and rest whenever necessary.
  • Limit exercise to moderate activity and be sure to not exert yourself. Exercise during periods of the day that are cooler such as early morning or late evening.
  • When you are indoors at home, use air conditioning. When outdoors at home, sit in the shade or under a ceiling fan. To keep the house cooler without running the air conditioning, close curtains or blinds on the east side of the home during the morning, and the west side in the afternoon.
  • Keep frozen treats available that have a high water and low sugar content, like sugar-free Popsicles (you can make your own using juice). Or serve fruit with a high water content, like watermelon.
  • Wear loose, lightweight and light-colored clothing. Hats are useful, but make sure that they are loosely woven or ventilated so they don’t trap heat and broad-brimmed so they shade the entire face.
  • Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke: dry hot flushed skin, weakness, confusion, intense muscle aches, nausea, dilated pupils, loss of consciousness, and body temperatures of 105 degrees or higher. Call 911 immediately if you or someone you know has these symptoms.

Summer is a beautiful time of year but remember that extreme heat can be very dangerous. It’s necessary to take special care to avoid serious illnesses.

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Protecting Seniors from Dangerous Heat originally appeared on



Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra4 years ago

Thank you AgingCare, for Sharing this!

Dale Overall

A timely topic and remember never to leave children, the elderly and pets in the car during such heat as even with windows open the temperature in the car can climb drastically over a few minutes causing heat stroke and death!

Mari Garcia
Mari Garcia5 years ago

Thanks for the reminder

Aimee A.
Aimee A5 years ago

Thanks for posting!

Jane Barton
Jane Barton5 years ago

Get out of the sun, drink lots of water and take off your clothes. Also lay around and watch TV.

Ron B.
Ron B5 years ago

It can even get over 100 degrees here in Portland, Oregon during the summer. On one day back in the 1970's, Portland was the hot spot in the nation at 107 degrees.

ii q.
g d c5 years ago

ty for reminders...

Dawn W.
Dawn W5 years ago

I had heat exhaustion when I was 15. It was horrible. I thought I was going to die.Don't want to know what heat stroke feels like.

Mary Mattarelli
Mary Mattarelli5 years ago

Thanks gret article

Kynthia R.
Kynthia Rosgeal5 years ago

Rather sparse reading. listing the signs and how to recognize heat prostration, stroke etc would have been really useful.