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Elderly most at risk as high temperatures move into the area

Posted at 6:07 PM, Jul 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-09 19:07:23-04

This weekend, Central Texas will see temperatures rise into the triple digits. These temperatures can be especially dangerous to our elderly population.

According to the CDC, every year more than 600 Americans die of heat related problems. People aged 65 or older are more at risk from suffering from heat stroke and other heat-related health problems.

“That combination of normal changes of aging, medical conditions that you just happen to get as you get older, and the medications that some of them are on definitely contribute to the heat-related illnesses that we see,” said Dr. John Snider, Family Medicine Doctor at Baylor Scott & White.

In the heat of the summer, staying out of direct sunlight and air conditioning is the best way to prevent overheating.

"If you do need to be doing an outdoor activity or a high-level activity, definitely do it early in the morning or late at night. Frequently sip lots of water and sometimes people think, "Hey, I am drinking fluids," but they are actually drinking things with alcohol in them or caffeine or them. Alcohol and caffeine can definitely dehydrate you,”said Dr. Snider.

However, not everyone can afford the high cost of A/C in the hot Texas summer. The Salvation Army has free fans available along with many local organizations who are willing to help.

”There are people who stay in some of these apartments that don’t even have air conditioning in their apartment and the only way they have to move air is with a fan,” said Major Jim Taylor, Commanding Officer of Salvation Army of McLennan County.

As we head into mid-July, temperatures will continue to rise, and Dr. Snider says that the heat can often sneak up on you.

“One of the problems is it can cause confusion. Sometimes people aren't thinking clearly once the disease process kicks in and so they may not recognize, "Hey, I am not doing well,"” he said.

The Salvation Army does have a cooling center open at 300 Webster Avenue in Waco with cold bottles of water available. On the days the temperatures reach 100 degrees, the center will be open for those needing to come inside.

If you need help or would like to help you can contact the Salvation Army at (254) 756-7271 or email