It’s June. Temperatures are already soaring. For many it is going to be a long hot summer. Last week we talked about the important of drinking enough water, but dehydration isn’t the only concern. Seniors, especially those with chronic conditions, are particularly vulnerable as temperatures soar. Did you know that more people in the United States die from extreme heat every year than from hurricanes, lightening, tornadoes, floods or earthquakes combined? Think about what that might mean for you. Most of us love summer; we don’t think much beyond cranking up the air conditioning or taking the grandkids to the pool or beach, but not everyone is so lucky. For many seniors living on a fixed income, air conditioning is a luxury not a given. If temperatures in your house are above 85 for a prolonged period of time you could be in danger. Everyone has heard of hypothermia (what can happen when you are exposed to freezing temperatures), but not everyone is as familiar with hyperthermia? Hyperthermia, commonly referred to as heat fatigue, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke is what happens when your body is too hot. The symptoms of hyperthermia are often missed. Confusion, dizziness, muscle cramping, fever and headache are not uncommon in the elderly, a little exacerbation is often chalked up to worsening dementia. Prevent overheating: • Drink plenty of fluids every day to stay hydrated. • When outdoors, wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. • Stay indoors on hot and humid days or go somewhere cool (senior centers, shopping malls, movie theaters or the public library). • Plan ahead, take hot weather seriously; be prepared. • If you cannot leave your house and do not have air conditioning, take a cool bath or shower to lower your body temperature. Know the signs of heat stroke and take action if you notice that your face is flushed, you have a temperature, headache, nausea, rapid pulse, dizziness or confusion. Hot weather is more than just an inconvenience for older adults.