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Summer safety information for seniors

May 26, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Some consider Memorial Day weekend the unofficial start of summer. And in the coming days, we'll be seeing the mercury rise. Extremely hot weather can be hazardous for many, particularly seniors.

We all need a second pair of eyes, no matter how old we are. That's what the ABCs of a Safe Summer is all about: raising awareness. When it comes to hot cars and heat-related illness, seniors are vulnerable.

During this year's ABCs of a Safe Summer, the focus isn't just on kids but senior safety is also in the spotlight.

"Heat waves actually kill a lot more people than the public really knows, and it kind of sneaks up on you," said Lisa Klink, American Red Cross. "You think you will be OK out in the sun, then you just overdo it a little bit and it really is pretty dangerous."

"Because [seniors are] older, they are more likely to have an underlying condition like heart disease or diabetes. So if they dehydrate from heatstroke, they may be more prone to having illness and death," said Dr. Oliver T. Brooks.

Lack of air conditioning is the number one reason seniors suffer heat-related illness and death. That's why it's best to only do exercises before 9 a.m., or to visit senior centers for the pleasure of company.

Kids aren't the only ones who need a second pair of eyes on them when they're in the pool. Many seniors may know how to swim, but doctors say anything can happen.

"You could catch a stroke, you could have some other medical emergency while you are immersed in the water so that you couldn't swim with a simple thing like a cramp," said Dr. Brooks.

Surrounds yourself with a wide social network is helpful, and taking time for yourself is healthy.

ABC7, the American Red Cross, Aetna, Kidde, Home Depot, L.A. Care Health Plan, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and Northgate Markets have teamed up this year for the 15th annual ABCs of a Safe Summer. Click here to learn more

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