Temperatures in the St. Louis area are once again sweltering. The St. Louis oppressive humidity and high temperatures mean older adults, in particular, need to take precautions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people age 65 and older are more prone to heat-related problems – their bodies don’t adjust as well to changes in temperature. Seniors are more likely to have a chronic condition that can affect their ability to deal with high heat, especially if they don’t have air-conditioning in their homes.

Signs of dehydration, heat stroke and heat exhaustion include nausea, dizziness, muscle cramps, weakness and rapid breathing and pulse.

Following are some steps older adults can take to protect their health during this hot, sticky season:

* Drink cool, non-alcoholic beverages and avoid caffeine.
* Take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath. Or, place cool, wet clothes on your neck or under your armpits.
* Don’t engage in strenuous activities – take it easy.
* Seek an air-conditioned environment. (If you don’t have air-conditioning, consider visiting a public library or an air-conditioned shopping mall.)
* If you must go out, wear lightweight clothing and a brimmed hat to shade your face.
* Cover windows that get direct sunlight that can heat your home.
* Do errands in the early morning, and if possible, remain indoors during afternoon hours – the peak heat of the day.
* Check on older neighbors or relatives at least twice a day for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.