Summer Heat and Smoke Danger for Riverside Seniors
ABC news reports that there have already been seven heat-related deaths across Riverside County since July, and with more excessive heat expected this summer, it's the senior and elderly community that is most at risk for heat-related illnesses. Hemet has three heat-related deaths, and one person has died in the city of Riverside.
Riverside County officials have also issued air quality warnings for “unhealthy air quality levels” in the county due to the Holy Fire. Air quality level maps have shown unhealthy levels for seniors and the medically frail this summer.
“The excessive heat and smoke can make for dangerous health conditions, especially among those with respiratory illnesses, young children and the elderly," Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County public health officer, said in a release. Older people and those with respiratory illnesses such as asthma and COPD are particularly at risk of smoke-related health problems. However, in extreme conditions healthy people also may experience short-term breathing problems, eye irritation and coughing.
Suzanne Spencer of the Mizell Senior Center suggests seniors who live alone should befriend a neighbor, and that seniors should be assertive in their own care and know how to find help. Make sure you know the people who live around you “so people can come check on you and you can check on them as well,” Spencer said.
Spencer also recommends to check on your neighbors, and to never ignore any possible signs of heat exhaustion including headaches, dizziness, restlessness, rapid heartbeat chest pains. "If you feel faint call 911, you may save your own life," Spencer added.
Please share heat and air alerts with your elderly friends and family, remind them to be aware of heat and air pollution alerts, and to stay safe.
BrightStar Care of Central Western Riverside County provides care and support to seniors living alone and with respiratory illnesses. Our in home health care services help seniors live independently at home with support.
To learn more about our senior care and companions, please visit our website.