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Heat Waves Can Kill Seniors Who Don’t Take Precautions, says AMAC

heat waves kill seniors precautionsHeat related deaths average about 175 in summertime, mostly among the elderly

WASHINGTON, DC – All the indicators suggest that we are in for a long, hot summer and that’s not good news for seniors.

“What could be better than a sunny summer day, with gentle breezes keeping temperatures smack-dab in the middle of your comfort zone?  But, the number of heat waves we can expect in much of the U.S. this summer is anticipated to be greater than usual, as projected by several authoritative sources.  And the older you are, the more important it is that you keep cool because heat waves can be deadly,” says Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Weather Service and even the Farmer’s Almanac predict well above average warmth in the coming months.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that during an average summer about 175 people die from the heat.  But when things heat up above the norm, the numbers of such deaths can skyrocket.  In 1995, for example, more than 1,000 people died during what was one of the worst heat waves ever experienced in modern times.  Chicago was hardest hit with 739 fatalities, mostly among the elderly,” according to Weber.

You can tell if the heat is getting the best of you when you experience symptoms such as muscle cramping, fatigue headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness or fainting.

There’s not much you can do about the weather, but you can take some precautions when temperatures start to climb.  Drink water or fruit juice and avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee or tea [caffeine is dehydrating].  Find a cool spot, such as a room with good ventilation or, better yet, a room that is air-conditioned.  If you find yourself out of doors, stay in the shade as much as possible and don’t forget to wear a hat.  Choose the clothes you wear carefully.  Make sure your clothing is lightweight and light-colored and that it isn’t constraining.

AMAC also suggests that you keep tabs on elderly relatives and neighbors when it is hot and humid.  Be aware that the humidity can prevent sweat from evaporating, in turn reducing its normal cooling effect.  So Look in on them from time to time during long stretches of hot weather.

“Bear in mind that many seniors suffer from poor circulation and may feel too ‘cold’ to sit tight in an air-conditioned room.  The medications they take, likewise, can affect blood pressure and respiration, particularly during times of extreme heat,” says Weber.



The Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] [] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members.  We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today.  Live long and make a difference by joining us today at

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How did anyone live into their 90’s before air conditioning. My grandparents did, both of them..


Guess I should not be mowing the lawn and working in the yard when temps get above 90 degrees

Ivan Berry

Well shoot. Where were you during those cold winter days and nights when record cold tempertratures were hitting the north east and northern central states? Does not everyone know that more elderly deaths occure in extreme winter chills?
Sure, any extremes can be deadly. But it is less expensive to lie in front of a fan than to huddle up to a dangerous space heater. Poverty is the extenuating factor.

Thomas Haj

I went through this for the first time earlier this week while at work. My irregular heartbeat (not the serious type) became much more pronounced during it and I even had trouble breathing.

Tracy Fluitt

This hits home with me. My Grandmother, only 74, had a heat stroke in 1981 (North Texas) and ended up dying because of the intense heat of that summer. She stayed in the house during the days, but went out to her mailbox – not 50 feet from her front door – and passed out from a stroke. Don’t take this lightly, folks. It happens and those of us that are safely inside our homes shouldn’t be naysayers. It could happen to one of your loved ones. Keep an eye on the ones you love.


I grew up in south Florida at a time when air conditioning for residential homes was unheard of. I still remember wearing only shorts and a tee shirt and walking barefoot on the asphalt road that was so hot it stuck to the bottoms of our feet. We had calluses so thick they served as shoes. My how our bodies change over time. I now live in Atlanta and I just can’t take the heat like that any more. Winter is my season to get outdoors now, especially projects around the house and camping. No mosquitoes or snakes. You haven’t been winter camping until it snows inside your tent.

Glenn in PRNJ (People's Rep of NJ)

This Monday will be my last glass blowing session til September. with a 2000deg furnace 1800deg glory hole and a 900deg annealing oven Im not superman.