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Temperatures remain extreme and that means we all need to take steps to stay cool and really watch out for the most vulnerable among us.
Our elderly neighbors are the most susceptible to heat related illness and often they don’t want to burden others with their problems. It’s entirely possible that the vulnerable adult next door to you is living without a functional air-conditioner or cooler. Even if they do have a functioning air-conditioning system they may not know how to use it. It’s unfortunate but there are documented cases of vulnerable adults dying from heat related illness because they unintentionally turned on the heat when they were trying to cool their homes. Even though your neighbor may not ask for help, he or she probably won’t turn it down if help is offered. Take some time this weekend to look in on your neighbors.
Ask about their living situation. Simply asking if they are able to stay cool is a good way to get the conversation started. Find out if they have family in the area and try to get emergency contact information. If you have permission and have a good relationship with your neighbors ask permission to enter their home so you can assess the living conditions inside.
It’s important to watch for any changes in your neighbor’s routine. For example, if you notice that your neighbor usually opens the blinds first thing in the morning and then suddenly does not, there may be a problem. If your neighbor normally takes a morning walk but skips a day, check in on them. Be vigilant. Simply taking the time to look in on the people around us could save a life.
If you or someone you know experiences a heat related emergency call 911 immediately. While waiting for medics to arrive you should try to get the patient out of the sun or remove them from the source of the heat (hot car or house). You can gently spray the patient down with cool water or apply a wet cloth or ice pack to the patient’s armpits and/or groin area. If the patient is able to drink, give them cool water. Obviously, if the patient is unconscious or is vomiting hold off on trying to get them to drink.