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Doctors say older adults are more prone to heat-related illnesses

Doctors say older adults are more prone to heat-related illnesses

OMAHA,Neb(FOX42KPTM)-Doctors say as people age, their ability to adequately respond to summer heat can become a serious problem.

"I never use to get this hot, I could go outside when I was younger and play outside all day, I can't do that anymore," Clarice Neumann said.

She's 68-years-old. She says she stays out of the heat as much as possible.

"I can't walk outside right now because it's too hot to walk outside."

Neumann tells FOX 42 that it has a lot to do with a person's age."

"The older we get we can't be in as much heat as the younger people can," she said.

Dr. Jane Potter agrees with Neumann. Potter is a geriatrician at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She says older adult bodies respond differently to heat.

"Older people don't sweat as much, they have fewer sweat glands and the way their blood flow is to the skin is much less," Potter said.

Although sweating can seem uncomfortable, doctors say it's actually good to sweat.

"The only way we really cool our bodies and maintain our temperature where it should be is by sweating."

If people are not sweating, they could experience hypothermia. This could lead to a heat stroke and heat cramps or exhaustion.

"It makes me dizzy, I feel like I could pass out a couple of times so I know I have to stay out of the heat," Neumann said.

For people taking medication, it's very important for you specifically to keep cool.

"People who are taking many medications, even if they're really not truly older can have the same type of problem with having their body temperature build up," Neumann said."The heat will stay in the body and they can develop a heat-related illness."

According to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, if you think that someone is suffering from a heat-related illness:

-Call 911

-Get person out of the heat into cool air

-Urge them to lie down

-Offer something cool to drink

-Apply wet, cold cloth to different parts of their body

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