East Texas seniors should take precautions during killer heat

Robyn Hight, Angelina Co. Senior Citizens Center Director
Robyn Hight, Angelina Co. Senior Citizens Center Director
James Reese, Retired Dentist
James Reese, Retired Dentist

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A heat advisory is in place for much of deep East Texas.   At greatest risk: children and the elderly.

"Standing in front of the stove with the oven open," said James S. Reese, retired dentist.

Reese describes how hot it is with a laugh. Yet this summer's triple-digit temperatures are no laughing matter for some senior citizens.

"Little kids and older people are just more susceptible to the heat... Older people because they're in a weakened condition," said Robyn Hight, Angelina Co. Senior Center Director.

In fact, the elderly should take it very seriously.

"There's just no way to stay cool outside," said Reese.

Hight believes this kind of heat can kill.

"All of a sudden it's just like I got a headache, I'm not sweating. You just can't move. It can cause strokes," said Hight.

"Confusion. They just get confused. They don't know where they are sometimes," said Reese.

The symptoms of heat exhaustion and stroke are broad. Prevention starts with staying inside. That's what Lufkin senior Louise Scott is doing.

"Sitting at the house mostly. Keep the air conditioning going all the time," said Scott.

However, fixed incomes and financial worries keep some from turning on the a/c.

"They got air conditioning a lot of them, but they just won't use them because of the cost," said Hight.

Hight tells meals on wheels drivers to keep tabs on their clients.

"You can make a call to their emergency contact and say mom's not running her air conditioning and she was sweating like a pig," said Hight.

There's not much relief expected from these hot temperatures over the next couple of months. Get to know your neighbors and take the time to knock on the door, and ask how they are doing. It could potentially save a life.

"We've lost a lot of that. Used to everybody looked out for everybody in the neighborhood. Now three people on my street is all I know," said Reese.

Reese says most folks just want to mind their own business, but it's the right thing to do during a heat wave like this.

If you're having trouble paying your electric bill, call the Angelina County Senior Citizens Center. They can connected to several local community services that can help.

©2011 KTRE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.