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How certain medications increase your risk of heat illness

heat illness

The National Weather Service has issued warnings about a record-breaking heat wave expected to hit several parts of the U.S. this week. As temperatures soar, it’s crucial to be aware of the risks of heat illnesses like heat stroke and heat exhaustion. What many people don’t know is that certain medications can increase the likelihood of experiencing these heat-related illnesses.

Which medications raise your risk of heat illness?

Various medications can make you more susceptible to heat illness. Here are some common ones:

Antidepressants: Medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) can affect your body’s ability to regulate temperature and fluid balance, increasing the risk of dehydration.

Antihistamines: Commonly used to treat allergies, antihistamines like promethazine, doxylamine, and diphenhydramine can interfere with your body’s ability to sweat, making it harder to cool down.

Stimulants: Drugs like amphetamines, often used to treat ADHD, can raise your body temperature by interacting with your central nervous system.

Beta-blockers: Used to treat cardiovascular diseases, beta-blockers can make it difficult for people to sweat and cool down, increasing the risk of fainting and falls.

Diuretics: Also known as water pills, diuretics help reduce fluid buildup but can lead to dehydration by increasing urination and reducing thirst.

ACE inhibitors: These medications manage high blood pressure but can lower your thirst sensation, making dehydration more likely.

Thyroid hormone replacement medications: Medications like levothyroxine can raise your body temperature and cause excessive sweating, increasing the risk of dehydration.

Antipsychotic medications: Used to treat conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, these drugs can interfere with your body’s ability to regulate temperature and reduce your thirst sensation.

How to stay safe in the heat when you take these medications

If you’re taking any of these medications, it’s important to continue as directed by your doctor. Here are some tips to stay safe:

  • Stay indoors: Try to stay indoors during peak heat hours.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids to keep your body hydrated.
  • Use shade and fans: If you need to go outside, stay in the shade and consider using a portable fan.
  • Monitor your body: Be aware of your surroundings and how your body feels. If you start to feel too hot, stop what you’re doing and move to a cooler place.

By taking these precautions, you can reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses while continuing your prescribed medications.