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Winter Temps Raise Health Risks for Seniors

By Robert Preidt

SUNDAY, Jan. 21, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults are at increased risk for hypothermia, a dangerous drop in body temperature, the U.S. National Institute on Aging warns.

This can be due to chronic health conditions or the use of certain medicines, including over-the-counter cold remedies.

Hypothermia occurs when your core body temperature drops to 95 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Warning signs include:

  • Slowed or slurred speech.
  • Sleepiness or confusion.
  • Shivering or stiffness in the arms and legs.
  • Poor control over body movements.
  • Slow reactions.
  • A weak pulse.

To prevent or reduce the chance of hypothermia, older adults can take a number of steps, according to the institute.

First, ask your doctor or pharmacist if any prescription or over-the-counter medications you're taking increase your risk for hypothermia.

Then, keep the thermostat in your home to at least 68 to 70 degrees. Even inside temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees can put older adults at risk for hypothermia.

Indoors, wear long underwear under your clothes, as well as socks and slippers and a hat or cap. It's also a good idea to use a blanket or afghan to keep your legs and shoulders warm.

When going outside, wear a hat and scarf to prevent the loss of body heat through your head, and gloves or mittens to prevent the loss of body heat through your hands. Wearing several layers of loose clothing helps trap warm air between the layers.

Also, let someone know when you're going outside -- and be sure to carry a fully charged cellphone.

If you notice any of these symptoms or suspect hypothermia, call 911.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about cold weather and older adults.

SOURCE: U.S. National Institute on Aging, news release, January 2018

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=729992

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
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Hypothermia
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The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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