With peak heat index expected to reach over 100 degrees on Tuesday, the Camden County Board of Commissioners is once again distributing free fans. Camden County residents ages 60 and older with an income of $25,000 or less are eligible to receive a fan.
“Many of our senior citizens here in Camden County are living in homes without air conditioning or other means of cooling,” said Commissioner Carmen Rodriguez, liaison to the Camden County Division of Senior Services which oversees the program. “When temperatures rise to these dangerous levels, seniors should open windows to release trapped air and use a fan to circulate the air in a home. This not only makes it more comfortable, but more importantly it makes it safer.”
During the hottest days of summer, senior citizens should wear lightweight clothing and avoid strenuous activity in the hot sun or in other hot areas. If you must be out in the sun, wear a head covering. A wide-brimmed hat or visor will not only protect your head from intense rays of the sun, it will also provide a shield for your eyes.
Those taking regular medication should consult with their physician. Some medications cause an adverse reaction in hot weather. Drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids, warm and cool. Because the body loses fluids in the heat, drinking lots of liquids helps to avoid dehydration.
“Now is the time to prepare for the unpredictable heat that the summer months can bring,” Rodriguez said. “The combination of extreme temperatures and high humidity can cause heat related illnesses in senior citizens.”
The early warning signs of heat stress are decreased energy, slight loss of appetite, faintness, light-headedness and nausea. People experiencing these symptoms should go to a cool environment, drink liquids, remove excess clothing and rest.
Serious signs of heat stress include unconsciousness, rapid heartbeat, throbbing headache, dry skin, chest pain, mental confusion, irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, staggering and difficulty breathing. People experiencing these symptoms should get to immediate medical attention. While waiting for help, move the person to a cool area, remove excess clothing, spray with water, and fan the person. In an emergency, dial 911.
“For more than a decade we have worked with senior organizations and municipal emergency management coordinators to distribute fans to seniors,” Rodriguez said. “Please take the proper precautions to ensure that this summer is save and enjoyable.”
To request a fan or to obtain more information, please call the Camden County Division of Senior Services at (856) 858-3220.