Elders, people with disabilities need extra attention when temperatures rise

Friday, 6/28/13 - 3:40 pm

This weekend’s hot summer weather can put anyone at risk for heat stroke and heat exhaustion. The Tri-County Health Officers want to remind residents to check on elders, people who are disabled or live alone this weekend.

Older adults, infants and children, and people with chronic medical conditions are particularly at risk of heat-related illnesses. They should receive extra attention during the summer months.

Overheating can place a dangerous strain on the heart, and can worsen other medical conditions. Prescriptions drugs can also make a person more vulnerable to heat, so consult a healthcare provider or pharmacist for advice during hot weather.

“If someone you know lives alone, reach out to make sure they are safe from heat-related illness,’’ said Dr. Justin Denny, Multnomah County Health Officer.

You can protect yourself and your neighbors and family:

  • Drink more water than you normally do, regardless of your activity.
  • Stay in air-conditioned space as much as you can.
  • Avoid direct sun.
  • Wear light clothing
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Cool baths can help, but cold moving water in the Willamette, Sandy and Columbia Rivers can be dangerous.

Dr. Denny also reminds residents to check on their elders and those with disabilities at least twice a day. Be alert for warning signs of heatstroke and heat exhaustion:

  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Breathing Problems
  • Dry Skin (no sweating)
  • Chest pain
  • Extreme weakness
  • Mental changes (confusion)
  • Throbbing headache
  • Vomiting

Multnomah County and the city of Portland can also send phone, text and email alerts to people who live in Multnomah County that often suggest safety actions they can take, such as staying inside. To receive messages, please register the person you wish alerted at www.PublicAlerts.org.