Elderly at risk of overheating during summer

Published 6:18 pm Saturday, July 24, 2010

With rising summer temperatures that are threatening records, most people think to stay out of the sun, but the buildup of heat in homes and apartments can put family members and loved ones at risk for health complications.

Heat can build up to unhealthy levels in homes and apartments without air-conditioning, and seniors — especially those with heart and other serious health conditions — may become dehydrated or suffer other heat-related illnesses.

A reminder from Dominion Virginia Power suggests people regularly check on elderly or ill family members and friends who might need assistance during the heat.

If you are elderly and do not have air conditioning, do not hesitate to seek help if you feel ill from the heat, drink plenty of cool fluids throughout the day and do not wear heavy clothing. Avoid going outside or any strenuous activity during the heat of the day.

Remember that heat rises, so stay in lower levels of your home.

Spend as much time as you can in cooler surroundings, such as the coolest room in your home, an air-conditioned store or mall, senior center or library.

Because cool water removes body heat 25 times faster than cool air, bathe and shower to get relief from the heat.

For eligible seniors who may be having difficulty paying an energy bill, Dominion Virginia Power and the Commonwealth of Virginia offer a number of programs, including EnergyShare, Fan Care and the Virginia Cooling Assistance program, to assist them.

Dominion Virginia Power’s toll-free customer service number is 1-866-366-4357.