As the temperature starts to rise in the summer, an unlikely danger arises. Did you know that heat could adversely affect medications that seniors take? The combination of heat and medication side effects can lead to health complications.
Here are some common medications and how the heat may affect them:
- Antidepressants and antihistamines affect the area of the brain that controls production of sweat. Sweating is the body’s cooling system, so if someone cannot sweat, they are at risk of overheating.
- Diuretics encourage fluid loss. This, especially in hot weather, can cause dehydration.
- Beta-blockers work to weaken the effects of stress on the heart, lungs, and other organs. Hot weather, just so happens to be a stresser. If the body cannot adapt to the stress that hot weather causes it can cause heat stroke or other related illnesses.
- Amphetamines raise body temperature, which is very dangerous in already hot weather.
- Ephedrine/Pseudoephedrine decreased blood flow to the skin and can negatively impact the body’s ability to cool down.
- Sedatives can reduce awareness of discomfort, which means heat stress might go unnoticed.
You must also remember to store your medication in a cool, dry place. Storing medications in a place that is too hot can degrade them.