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Tips for keeping seniors safe in summer heat

With the summer continuing to sizzle, the Better Business Bureau and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have offered tips to help make sure seniors, often the most susceptible to heat-related illness, stay cool and safe.

Elderly people are more prone to heat-related illnesses for several reasons, including an inability to adjust well to sudden changes in temperature and chronic medical conditions and medications that change normal body responses to heat. Younger relatives and neighbors are urged to help them prevent health complications to due to the summer heat.

* Visitors should see older, at-risk adults at least twice a day, and watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

* They should be encouraged to increase their fluid intake regardless of their activity level. Suggest avoiding caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.

* If you know a senior citizen who cannot leave their home and who does not have air conditioning, gently remind them to take a bath or shower to lower their body temperature on days where it is extremely hot.

* Encourage seniors to wear hats, 30 SPF sunscreen and sunglasses.

* Advise seniors of the dangers of going out when the temperature is extreme.

* If seniors need transportation but do not drive, tell them to call a taxi or friend. Waiting in the sun for a bus can be dangerous.

For more information and a list of symptoms for heat stress, heat stroke and heat exhaustion, visit www.atlanta.bbb.org.