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NIA: Seniors Should Take Precautions To Avoid Hypothermia

February 5, 2010 by  

Seniors should take precautions to avoid hypothermia, says NIA In addition to producing high heating bills, the cold weather that has gripped much of the country poses health dangers related to hypothermia, especially in the elderly. However, there are ways to protect oneself from excessive loss of body heat both at home and outdoors.

Hypothermia occurs when body temperature falls to 96 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Its symptoms include slowed or slurred speech, sleepiness or confusion, shivering or stiffness in the arms and legs, poor control over body movements or slow reactions as well as a weak pulse.

According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), seniors are particularly vulnerable to hypothermia due to underlying medical conditions and because they tend to be less active than younger people and produce less body heat.

Consequently, NIA experts recommend keeping the temperature of the home at a minimum of 68 degrees. To stay warm inside it is a good idea to wear long underwear, socks and slippers. A blanket can be used to keep legs and shoulders comfortable, while a hat or cap can warm the head.

Venturing outdoors, it is important to wear a scarf and gloves or mittens to prevent loss of body heat through the hands and feet. A hat is particularly important because a significant portion of body heat loss occurs through the head.

In addition, wearing several layers of warm loose clothing can help keep warm air close to the body.

Finally, NIA advises seniors to check with their healthcare providers as some medicines may increase the risk of hypothermia.

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  • Jerry

    A simple trick to help lower heating costs is to use a black trash bags and tape or thumb tacks, and place it up on the inside of a south side window. The side the sun shines on. This will attrect more heat than a clear window and trap it inside the home. Its best if a slite clearnce is left between the window and the bag. This will allow air to inter from the bottem and come out the top as hot air. A small empty can, like a tuna can, or a part of a cardboard roll from the toliet paper roll will work. Only about a 1/2 inch peace is needed. Place it between the window and the plactic bag, to allow the air to inter the bottem and escape the top.

    This will help increses the room tempature. It raised the tempature in my house about 2 degrees per bag. I have 9 bags on 7 windows. In the bedroom I put up 2 bags per window and rased the tempature about 6 degrees. I covered both windows completely. This also helps keep the heat in. It adds one more barrer the heat has to go through to escape.

  • Richard

    A lot depends on where you live. I had a friend who was complaining of the cold in his apartment which was old and the heat was included in the rent (and he had no control over it). I suggested he put an additional plastic window over his windows. Kits of pre-cut plastic are available. When he did it raised the temperature from 65 to 74, a big difference. Of course this was an old building with single frame windows. Modern windows often have double pane or even triple pane glass. I have double pane and still find that add addition layer of plastic helps.

  • Vicki

    first you want to tape clear plastic over the windows sealed around the sides of the frame. This will create a sealed air gap to reduce heat loss at the window. Then add the black plastic that is away from the clear plastic by about 1 inch. This will greatly increase the efficiency of the black plastic heat collector. Just remember to keep the open air space between the black plastic and clear plastic as mentioned above.

  • Bob Rea

    Talk about 3rd world countries….
    Invest in low-E glass, and keep your domicile from tearing down the value of the neighborhood….

  • Alma

    This may be a good way to conserve heat, but the heat build up between the paines on dual paine windows can crack one of the paines. I can assure that the warranty will not cover if the window company finds out these circumstances.


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