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Elderly Texans especially at risk as temperatures soar

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Elderly Texans can be more affected by hot weather because they often have difficulty regulating their body temperatures.

Extreme heat can create health issues for everyone — but the elderly are particularly at risk.

Older adults are more prone to heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion or heat stroke because they have a harder time regulating their body temperature. Health professionals are especially concerned because of the high temperatures in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Jessica Rangel is with the UNT Health Science Center. She says that it is best for older adults to stay in air conditioning and avoid going outside during the hottest hours of the day.

Rangel said if older folks choose go outside, they should try to do that in the morning “rather than in the middle of the day or even the early evening whe[n] it usually is hottest.”

She also says that it is important to check on the elderly people in your life frequently to ensure they are doing OK.

“There are many older adults who are less mobile, so it's important that we check on our neighbors, we check on our parents, we check on our family members just to make sure they're okay as sort of a buddy system.

If there’s a problem, Rangel said, “we can at least get them...to a cooler place or “call for emergency medical services for that individual.”

Rangel suggests moving an older person without air conditioning in with someone close to them who can provide care. If there’s a citywide blackout, she says elderly residents should go to one of the cooling centers that have opened in North Texas.

Here are some of the locations for cooling centers in DFW:

Dallas cooling centers

Tarrant County cooling centers

Denton cooling centers

Ava Gough covers the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Got a tip? Email Ava at agough@kera.org.

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Ava Gough reports for KERA News. She is a journalism major at the University of Missouri and a graduate Ursuline Academy of Dallas.