Older folks can lose body heat every now and then during the winter. What you may not know is that just being really cold can make you very sick.
Older adults can lose body heat fast, faster than when they were young. Changes in your body that come with aging can make it harder for you to become aware of getting cold. A big chill can turn into a dangerous
problem before an older person even knows what’s happening. Doctors call this serious problem hypothermia.
Hypothermia is what happens when your body temperature gets very low. For an older person, a body of 95 degrees or lower can cause many health problems.
Being outside in the cold or even being in a very cold house, can lead to hypothermia. Try to stay away from cold places, and pay attention to how cold it is to where you are. You can take steps to lower your chance of getting hypothermia.
Here are some tips to keep warm. Set your heat to at least 68 to 70 degrees. Close off the rooms you are not using. Close the vents and shut the doors in these rooms and keep the basement door closed. Place a rolled
towel in front of all doors to keep out drafts. Keep your blinds and curtains closed.
Dress warmly on cold days even if you are staying in the house. Throw a blanket over your legs and wear socks and slippers. When you go to sleep, wear long underwear under your pajamas and use extra covers. When going outdoors, wear a cap or hat and a waterproof coat or jacket if it’s snowing. A lot of heat is lost when your head is uncovered. If a power outage leaves you without heat, try to stay with a relative or friend.
Portions of this article were contributed by The Department of Health and Human Services.