With summer here and temperatures rising, it is important to understand the health risks of excessive heat and recognize the signs of heat-related illness. Being hot for too long can be a problem. It can cause several illnesses, all grouped under the name hyperthermia.
These factors can increase your risk of hyperthermia:
- Not drinking enough fluids.
- Reduced sweating caused by medications such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers, and certain heart and blood pressure drugs.
- High blood pressure or other health conditions that require changes in diet. People on salt-restricted diets may be at increased risk; however, salt pills should not be used without first consulting a doctor.
- Use of multiple medications. It is important, however, to continue to take prescribed medication and discuss possible problems with a physician.
- Age-related changes to the skin, such as poor blood circulation and inefficient sweat production.
- Heart, lung, and kidney diseases, as well as any illness that causes general weakness or fever.
- Being substantially overweight or underweight.
- Lack of mobility and access to transportation.
- Living in housing without air conditioning.
- Overdressing, especially in synthetic materials.
Understanding how to respond to hot weather conditions can help lower your risk of hyperthermia. Learn more about hot weather safety for older adults on NIA’s webpage and watch this video about exercising safely in hot weather.