Each year, as temperatures rise, warnings go out to caregivers — particularly of young children and older adults — to take precautions that prevent common heat emergencies (heat stroke, heat exhaustion, sun poisoning, etc.). These events and illnesses can strike quickly if we’re not careful, and staying hydrated and avoiding the sun’s strong UV rays are the best ways to combat them.
Yes, the summer heat is a dangerous thing, and even more so for seniors taking medications. A recent AgingCare.com article by pharmacist Lynne Harrelson details these unique risks and offers guidance for safely managing medication use in the sweltering summer months, whether you’re caring for seniors at home or in assisted living.
Here are a few highlights:
- Ask your physician about harmful reactions (such as an increased risk for sunburn) and side effects of certain medications that may be provoked by sun exposure, be it brief or extended.
- Some medications “may cause individuals not to sweat,” which is a dangerous precursor for heat stroke. Even if your loved one is staying out of direct sunlight, drinking lots of fluids, and wearing sunscreen and protective clothing, extended time in the heat is not a wise idea when certain medications may alter your body’s natural response to extreme temperatures.