Posted: Tuesday, 31 December 2013 6:34AM

Hypothermia and Elderly Adults

MANKATO (TEC News), December 31 – With the dangerously cold weather and windchills, the Mankato Area Agency on Aging is urging the elderly and their caretakers to take precautions. They say that older adults are especially vulnerable to hypothermia, which can be deadly if not treated quickly.

Helpful tips from the agency on how to prevent hypothermia:
• Wear several layers of loose clothing when it is cold.  The layers will trap warm air between them.  Tight clothing can keep blood from flowing freely and lead to loss of body heat.

• Wear a hat, scarf, gloves or mittens, and warm clothes when you go outside in cold weather.  A significant amount of your body heat can be lost through your head, and hands and feet are the first body parts to get cold.

• To keep warm at home, wear long underwear under your clothes, along with socks and slippers.  Use a blanket or afghan to keep legs and shoulders warm and wear a hat or cap indoors.

• Make sure your home is warm enough.  Set your thermostat to at least 68 to 70 degrees. Even mildly cool homes with temperatures from 60 to 65 degrees can trigger hypothermia in older people.  Because heating costs are high, funds are available to help low-income families pay their heating bills.  Contact your county human services to learn how to sign up for energy assistance.