Heat wave hardest on elderly and disabled - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Heat wave hardest on elderly and disabled

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

Triple-digit temperatures across the South Plains are taking a toll on people.

This past weekend, nearly a dozen people, some of the healthiest from the triathlon, were taken to the hospital for heat-related illness.

That has area hospitals issuing an important warning: It's best to stay indoors.

"Try to stay around air conditioning or at least a fan, dress lighting in light colors," said University Medical Center E. R. medical director, Dr. Joe Sasin.

People 65 or older are at the highest risk for heat-related illness. That's why Shirley and Buck Nash not only deliver Meals on Wheels to the elderly, but they also make sure everyone is safe in their house.

"We always ask them how they feel. Do they feel good today? Have there been any problems?" said volunteer, Buck Nash.

Those in the program, like Ienell Stokes is thankful they have someone looking after her in the hot weather.

"They are really good. If they don't find me, they find me in here somewhere and I like that because I'm here by myself all the time," said Stokes.

She knows the risk of being outdoors in the heat for too long, so instead she stays cool inside.

"I have my fans going and my air conditioner going. I usually set it on 79 and it stays pretty cool in here," said Stokes.

Others agree.

"We need to be like squirrels and stay in our nest," said Meals on Wheels participant, Dolores Froust.

However, if you must be outside in the scorching weather, make sure you hydrate. Doctors recommend people to drink plenty of fluids, rest frequently in a cool or shaded place, and watch for signs of heat related illness such as muscle cramps, weakness or dizziness.

If you do experience heat exhaustion, stop physical activity immediately, hydrate with sports drinks or water, and if possible wet your clothes to speed evaporation.

If you are elderly or disabled and need a climate-controlled area, Adult Protective Services will give you a fan or air conditioner. To qualify you must have documentation. Contact APS at 1-800-252-5400.

APS is also asking the public to donate fans, air conditioners or monetary donations. You can drop them off at Home Instead Senior Care at 1010 Slide Road or call 806-281-4663. 

Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved.

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