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Medical Director for Renowned Los Angeles Jewish Home Offers Top Tips to Elderly in Coping With Searing Temperatures Across U.S.
Date:6/30/2008

RESEDA, Calif., June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- As heat waves plague much of the United States with the hottest days yet to come, the medical director for the famed nonprofit Los Angeles Jewish Home -- one of the country's largest single-source provider of senior housing in Los Angeles -- has offered tips for the nation's elderly to avoid the health dangers of extreme heat.

Each year in the United States, about 200 people die of health problems caused by high heat and humidity. Most of the victims are age 50 or older. "Older adults and the elderly are at significantly higher risk on very hot days," said Jewish Home Medical Director Rick Smith. "Due to age-related physical changes, older adults can't cool down as well as younger adults; and they don't feel as hot when temperatures are dangerously high."

In addition, according to Dr. Smith, the elderly are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that upsets normal body responses to heat; and they are more likely to take prescription medicines that impair the body's ability to regulate its temperature or that inhibit perspiration. The signs and symptoms of heat stroke include:

-- An extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees F)

-- Red, hot and dry skin (no sweating)

-- Rapid, strong pulse

-- Throbbing headache

-- Dizziness

-- Nausea

Heat exhaustion signs and symptoms include:

-- Heavy sweating

-- Paleness

-- Muscle cramps

-- Tiredness

-- Weakness

-- Dizziness

-- Headache

-- Nausea or vomiting

-- Fainting

-- Skin: may be cool and moist

-- Pulse rate: fast and weak

-- Breathing: fast and shallow

Dr. Smith offered these tips for dealing with heat:

-- Limit exposure to outdoor and indoor heat. -- Spend time in air-conditioned buildings such as shopping malls, senior centers, public libraries or movie theatres.

-- Take a cool shower or bath.

-- Eat light, healthy foods that do not need to be cooked.

-- Drink cool, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages.

-- Do not use appliances such as the oven or dryer during the hottest parts of the day.
-- Turn off lights, they emit heat.

-- Use cool towels around face and neck.

-- Use handheld or portable fans.

-- Keep a spray bottle with cold water handy to cool off with.

-- Do not engage in strenuous activities.

-- Freeze water in bottles to use as ice packs.

-- Dress in light fabrics like cotton.

-- If outdoors, stay in shaded areas near trees or water.

-- Cover windows that are exposed to direct sunlight. -- Limit time on computers as they also release significant amounts of heat.

"It's important for all of us to realize how incredibly vulnerable this segment of the population is during the summer months," Smith said. "Any of us who have loved ones in this age group should try to visit them as much as possible during days like this, and watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke."

Founded in 1912, the world-renowned Los Angeles Jewish Home is one of the foremost multi-level senior-living communities in the United States and the largest single-source provider of senior housing in Los Angeles. In total, the Home annually serves more than 2,000 seniors through our extraordinary continuum of services. Each year, more than 1,500 women and men are cared for in-residence on two village campuses, with services including independent-living "Neighborhood Home" accommodations, residential care, skilled nursing care, acute psychiatric care, and Alzheimer's disease and dementia care. Another 500 seniors are served through the Home's community-based programs, which includes Skirball Hospice and community clinics. The Home is a nonprofit organization that relies upon donations from individuals, corporations and foundations to continue its remarkable work. Further information regarding the Home can be found online at http://www.jha.org or by calling 818-757-4407.


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SOURCE Los Angeles Jewish Home
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