Never too old to listen to heat advisories

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Resistance to acknowledging one s age may be what s keeping many elderly folk from heeding heat warnings meant for older populations. According to a Kent State University study of those over the age of 65, 90 percent were aware of heat warnings issued for the elderly, yet only 15 percent took them personally.

But in this case, ignorance is not bliss. Adverse health effects associated with hot summer weather should be taken seriously, especially by older people. They may not even realize when they are dehydrated, since one s sense of thirst decreases with age. The kidneys also lose function as we get older, and thus are less able to conserve body water. Further, many senior citizens take multiple medications, some of which may impair their ability to sweat or respond to other heat-related demands.

Therefore, we d like to advise our older readers to be more alert to signs such as dizziness while standing up, which also increases the risk of falling and breaking bones. Be careful, says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross, and avoid going out into the sun opt to stay in air-conditioned environments instead, and if you re thirsty, stay hydrated!