TOLEDO, Ohio — As we enter the dog days of summer, the risk of heat-related illnesses is higher. It's important you know the signs of these illnesses, and take steps to prevent them.
For many older adults with a limited income, this can be challenging. Here are five ways older adults can stay cool on a budget, according to the Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio, Inc.:
- Keep your curtains closed. While blackout curtains are best, keeping the curtains, blinds and shades in the home shut during the day can reduce by 30% the unwanted heat that comes to the house.
- Put a bowl of ice in front of a fan. Filling a metal mixing bowl and placing it at an angle in front of a fan will make it feel as if a nice sea breeze is blowing through your home.
- Drink cold, non-alcoholic beverages. Staying hydrated with cold non-alcoholic beverages helps keep the body cool.
- Use cold cloths. Applying a cold cloth to your neck and wrists can help regulate the temperature of the body.
- Get help with utility payments, air conditioners and fans. Many older adults with limited incomes are eligible for help with utility payments, air conditioners and fans by contacting Pathway at 567-803-0010. This is for older adults with an income of $1,835.34 or less for a single-person household or $2,479.73 or less for a two-person household.
Make sure to check in on those who are at-risk for heat-related illness. Watch out for the symptoms of heat exhaustion.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion:
- Blurred vision
- Nausea or upset stomach
- Profuse sweating
- Moderate increase in body temperature
If you are experiencing signs of heat exhaustion, go into an air-conditioned building, apply wet cloths and take sips of water.
Heat stroke is a more serious condition.
Signs of Heat Stroke:
- Disorientation, agitation or confusion,
- Hot dry skin (absence of sweating),
- Increased (inner) body temperature,
- Loss of consciousness
- Rapid heartbeat
If you're experiencing signs of heat stroke, call 911 immediately.