Safety Tips

The Elderly

Emergencies, such as power outages, can be particularly difficult for older people. Often their eyesight and coordination are impaired, making them susceptible to falls and other injuries. They are also unable to withstand extremes of heat or cold as well as younger people. For those reasons, it is important to check often on older friends, neighbors, and relatives during any emergency.

Hypothermia
This condition that occurs when exposure to cold causes a person's body to lose heat faster than it can be replaced. The result is a dangerous drop in internal body temperature, which is serious, especially for the elderly and for infants. Some of the first signs of hypothermia include: shivering; slurred speech; confusion; weakness; fatigue; drowsiness; and shallow breathing. In severe cases, the person may lose consciousness, and death can result.

If you suspect hypothermia, call a doctor or ambulance because prompt medical care is essential. Until help arrives, cover the victim with warm blankets. Do not rub or massage the skin; handle the victim as gently and as little as possible.

Hyperthermia
This condition occurs when the body becomes overheated. Prolonged exposure to extremely hot weather or high temperatures can result in heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and sunstrokes. The danger is particularly great when the humidity is high, and the temperature exceeds 90 degrees. The first signs of hyperthermia include: high body temperature and flushed skin; weakness, heavy perspiration and nausea; dizziness, fatigue, and faintness; sharp pains in the arms and stomach area; headache, rapid pulse, and loss of consciousness. Don't attempt first aid. If one or more symptoms of hyperthermia are present-don't delay. Seek medical attention immediately!