Heat Wave & Health, Impact of Common Medications on Heat Response


As warm weather arrives, many people are trying to cool. Yet, it’s not knowledge that ordinary medications can heighten sensitivity to heat. Knowing these risks is critical for safety during a heatwave.

How Medications Influence Heat Reactivity

Jeremiah Avery, a landscaper who works in summer conditions, has personal experience with the perils of high temperature. He says that his job involves extensive work in intense heat. For many people, the linked medications escalate these hazards.

Dr. Candice Garwood, based at Detroit Medical Center and teaching at Wayne State University’s pharmacy department, points out that elderly and young people are particularly sensitive to medication reactions in hot climates.

Here are some typical heat reactive medicines.

Antihistamines, Drugs such as Benadryl and Claritin used for allergies can minimize sweating and body cooling through dehydration.

Blood Pressure Drugs, Certain medicines increase urine production leading to dehydration which is dangerous in warm climates. Individuals on these drugs should always stay hydrated and try keeping away from extreme heat.

Anti-depressants, some selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) including Prozac and Zoloft can affect hydration and temperature regulation in one’s body. Similar effects could be observed with antipsychotic medicine taken by bipolar disorder or schizophrenia patients.

Nervous System Stimulants, ADHD treatments like Adderall reduce tolerance to high temperatures.

Broad Spectrum Antibiotics, Medicine such as sulfonamides and ciprofloxacin heightens sun sensitivity, increasing sunburn risk.

Acne Drugs, Topical retinoids, Accutane may also enhance sun sensitivity.

Safeguards During a Heat Wave

Dr. Garwood suggests that individuals on these medicines should take precautions such as staying hydrated, avoiding direct sunlight and wearing sunscreen during high temperatures. If you’re unsure about your medications and their effect in hot weather, it’s better to consult a doctor.

Jeremiah Avery provides his strategies to keep cool during outdoor work which involve carrying an ice filled cooler for hydration and covering your head with an ice cooled rag for temperature regulation. Try to stay under shade as much as you can.

Risks of Storing Medications in High Interior Temperatures

In addition to the body’s response to heat while taking these drugs, heat and humidity can lower the effectiveness of medications or even make them hazardous by altering how they function. Therefore, it is crucial to store your medicine in cool and dry places other than the washrooms where temperature can rise due to steam.

Brace Yourself for Upcoming High Temperature Spikes

A prolonged spell of high temperature could affect large parts of the country this summer. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), some regions could experience unusually long heat waves.

Tips for Surviving Intense Heat

Heat induced stress is more dangerous than any other weather hazard including hurricanes or floods. The following tips can help one stay safe,

Maintain Hydration, regularly drink water irrespective of whether you’re thirsty or not. Avoid drinks containing caffeine, sugar or alcohol as they can further dehydrate you. Also, refrain from consuming very cold drinks to prevent stomach cramping.

Eat Healthy, include hydration promoting fruits and vegetables in your diet. A homemade fruit smoothie might also help.

Avoid Excessive Outdoor Activities, try to stay indoors during peak sun hours.

Dress Light, Choose loose and light-colored clothes for comfort in excessive heat.

Stay in AC, stay in airconditioned spaces whenever possible or visit cooled public places like libraries or malls. Areas prone to extreme heat might have cooling stations available too.

Safety of Vulnerable Groups, Keep a check on children, elderly people, and pets’ safety in high temperatures.

Cooling Down at Night

In the case of a sustained heatwave, even nighttime temperatures may remain high offering little relief. Here are some tips for a cool night’s sleep

  • Use fans and air conditioning
  • Thin beddings
  • Shower or bath with lukewarm water before bedtime

Treatment of Heat related Illnesses

Heat Cramps, these cause muscle spasms accompanied by pain. If you get these, rest and drink fluids immediately and apply pressure on cramps.

Heat Exhaustion, this can be identified by symptoms such as sweatiness, weakness, shivering, paleness, irregular pulse rate or feeling faint or nauseated hydrate yourself without delay.

Heatstroke, this can be a serious condition that comes with symptoms like hot skin, rapid pulse and core body temperature above 103 degrees Fahrenheit. If anyone exhibits heat stroke symptoms call 911 immediately and start cooling down the person.

Vehicle Safety in High Heat

Don’t leave children, pets or elderly people alone in a car as the car’s interior can heat up rapidly to lethal temperatures.

Last Words

To keep yourself and your loved ones safe during severe heat spike, it is critical to take proactive measures such as taking necessary precautions, staying informed about temperature changes, checking with your doctor about medications you’re on and being prepared for all kinds of extreme heat scenarios.


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