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Senior Health : Coping Tips for Summer Weather Hazards

Posted August 15, 2015

FRIDAY, Aug. 14, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Severe summer weather and thunderstorms can threaten your safety and health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns.

Potential hazards include extreme heat, powerful storms and wildfires caused by dry conditions.

Heat-related illness occurs when your body can't properly cool itself. Seniors, young children and people with chronic health problems are most at risk for heat-related illness and death.

From 1999 to 2010, there were more than 7,400 heat-related deaths in the United States, an average of about 618 a year, according to a CDC news release.

In extreme heat, you need to stay cool, hydrated and informed about weather conditions. If your home doesn't have air conditioning, go to a shopping mall or public library with air conditioning, or call your local health department to locate heat-relief shelters in your area, the agency suggests.

Drink plenty of nonalcoholic fluids, regardless of your activity level. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Never leave any person or pet in a closed, parked vehicle. Check with older adults at least twice a day.

Also, take steps to protect yourself and your family in case of tropical storms, hurricanes, thunderstorms and tornadoes, the CDC says. Follow lightning safety tips and be ready for flooding that can result from summer storms. Never walk or drive through floodwater.

Smoke from wildfires can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases. If there is wildfire smoke in your area, try to limit your exposure.

Don't rely on face masks because they won't protect your lungs from the smoke, the agency says. If you have asthma or other lung conditions, follow your doctor's management plan. See a doctor if you have trouble breathing.

Listen for advice from local authorities, the agency added, and follow their instructions.

-- Robert Preidt

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