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Medicine during summertime temperatures may increase heat-related illness risk – warn doctors

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Jiya Saini
Jiya Saini is a Journalist and Writer at Revyuh.com. She has been working with us since January 2018. After studying at Jamia Millia University, she is fascinated by smart lifestyle and smart living. She covers technology, games, sports and smart living, as well as good experience in press relations. She is also a freelance trainer for macOS and iOS, and In the past, she has worked with various online news magazines in India and Singapore. Email: jiya (at) revyuh (dot) com

In the midst of hot weather in western America, doctors warn anyone taking certain medications to take extra steps to stay cool.

Dr. Vik Bebarta, an emergency physician and toxicologist from the University of Colorado University of Health, said that when temperatures hit the 1990s, more people sought medical care for heat-related illnesses.

We have seen a lot of patients come in with heat-related illness … outside working in the field or working on outside projects, or elderly patients who just can’t tolerate the heat as much

he said.

Some patients take certain medications that prevent their bodies from staying cool on hot days.

They’re medications for blood pressure like we call diuretics. They’re medications for sometimes allergies, like antihistamines, and other anti-depressants

Bebarta said.

He said that some cause dehydration, some can elevate the internal temperature of a person’s body, and some prevent perspiration, which is the body’s natural cooling system.

They should try and limit their time outside. They should try and make sure they’re staying cool. The moment they develop symptoms, they should get inside, drink liquid, stay hydrated

said Bebarta.

While most drugs that affect the body’s ability to react to heat are prescribed by a physician, others are common over-the-counter medicines.

Actually, the medications like Benadryl and like Zyrtec — moreso Benadryl — can [inhibit your ability] to respond to heat. And even cold medications — the mixed medications together, the Vick’s formula, those types of things — have antihistamines in them, and that decreases your ability to respond to heat

Bebarta said.

The effect of drugs on the body’s ability to cope with heat is minimal and is usually neither problematic nor noticeable. However, together with conditions such as altitude, dehydration, and excessive heat, Bebarta said, medicines can tip a person beyond the point of being merely hot. 

The combination of those effects need to come together at the same time for them to get sick enough to need to seek care

he said.

However, the symptoms can be dangerous. 

They can come in with confusion, sometimes if they’re really sick, or often they are sort of weak and tired and hot and sweating and dizzy

said the expert.

You can collapse and pass out. If you pass out for a long time, you can have some brain injury, and your blood pressure can get quite low.

Seniors are at increased risk of heat-related illness because the body loses its natural ability to keep cool as it ages. However, warm weather can also affect healthy youth and individuals if they engage in intense physical activity in high temperatures, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Summertime activity, whether on the playing field or the construction site, must be balanced with actions that help the body cool itself to prevent heat-related illness

the CDC says.

Image Credit: Getty

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