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Heat and Medicine -- A Dose of Danger for Oklahoma City Elder Care

A potentially deadly danger lurks in the medicine cabinets of seniors this summer. Did you know that heat, when combined with certain medications, can seriously harm seniors?

And with blistering 100-degree temps in the offing, this danger notice is of particular interest.

That’s why SYNERGY HomeCare, one of the nation’s largest non-medical in-home care franchises, recommends families pay special attention to seniors that are taking any medications this summer.  In home care in Oklahoma City area is represented by SYNERGY HomeCare in Edmond.

Consider some 80-86 percent of seniors suffer from a chronic condition or disease that requires medication, the summer heat can pose significant challenges.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

-- Seniors are more prone to heat stroke and heat-related stress because their bodies can’t adjust to sudden changes in temperature.

-- Seniors who take certain prescription medications are more susceptible to heat related injuries and illnesses.

Prescription for Trouble

--Antidepressants and antihistamines act on an area of the brain that controls the skin’s ability to make sweat. Sweating is the body’s natural cooling system. If a person can’t sweat, they are at risk for overheating.

--Beta blockers reduce the ability of the heart and lungs to adapt to stresses, including hot weather. This also increases a person’s risk of heat stroke and other heat related illnesses.

--Amphetamines can raise body temperature.

--Diuretics act on kidneys and encourage fluid loss. This can quickly lead to dehydration in hot weather.

-- Sedatives can reduce a person’s awareness of physical discomfort which means symptoms of heat stress may be ignored.

-- Ephedrine/Pseudoephedrine found in over the counter decongestants decrease blood flow to the skin and impact the body’s ability to cool down.

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