Seniors More Susceptible to Heat - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Seniors More Susceptible to Heat

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With temperatures above 100-degrees this week, it's easy to get overheated. Experts especially worry about senior citizens' ability to stay cool. Drinking plenty of water is an important part of staying safe in this kind of heat. Experts recommend drinking between 16 to 32 ounces of water every hour. 

At the Washoe County Senior Center on 9th and Sutro in Reno, officials say they've seen about a 15% increase in seniors using the air conditioned facility. Vicki DeVines doesn't mind the heat, but understands it's not healthy for everyone. "Some people aren't used to the heat, and especially with illness and medications, you can have a devil of a time," she said. 

So DeVines is spending these scorching days in the company of other seniors at the center, where they can stay cool and safe. The center provides activities for people 60 and older. We caught up with Jim Whitehill who was playing pool on Monday. "It does have a A/C in here and it's cooler in here than it is out there," said Whitehill.

Others are finding whatever shade is available, but the relentless heat can cause problems. "It's been warmer at night than we typically see," said Grady Tarbutton of Washoe County Senior Services. "We want to encourage people to look for the signs; if someone is getting confused or their skin is clammy to the touch, you should get them someplace cool and make sure they get enough water," he added.

Studies show that 40% of heat-related deaths occur in people over the age of 65. And not every senior can leave their home to get out of the heat. "I also ask people to watch out for their neighbors, their family and neighbors that may be elderly or on medication. There's going to be things that happen that we need to pay attention to," said Tarbutton.

The Washoe County Senior Center is accepting new, electric fans, to give to seniors who are homebound or don't have air conditioning. So far they've given out more than 400 fans. Tarbutton says it's important for seniors to follow some basic rules. "Keep hydrated, stay cool and don't go out in the heat."

Written by Jennifer Burton

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