Water and air conditioning help the elderly avoid heatstroke

Every year, heatstroke accounts for at least 240 deaths in the United States. In the United States, most people with heatstroke are elderly inner-city residents.

The current heatwave warrants this reposting.

Lack of access to air conditioning and an inability to recognize and correct dehydration place them at particular risk. Other risk factors for death include preexisting medical conditions such as heart and lung disease, mental illness, and social isolation.

A good review of the problem was published in American Family Physician. Drinking water and access to air conditioning are the most important actions to prevent heatstoke.

Probably most interesting is the inability of the elderly to recognize thirst and correct their fluid needs. Therefore, if you have a parent or know of anyone living independently, now is the time to personnaly check on them to make sure these critical needs are met.

7/29/06 10:26 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.