ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - The owner of a St. Louis Synergy HomeCare franchise is keeping an especially close eye on his clients' medications these days. That's because Donald Heck says extreme heat can cause problems.
"Many medications can cause elderly to either lose hydration faster than they ordinarily would, or in some cases actually suppress the person's ability to realize that they are becoming overheated," said Heck.
He said some elderly clients have a difficult time verbalizing their need to stay hydrated. So workers will simply give clients a drink or a snack without asking.
"Nine times out of 10 they will eat it or drink it even though they told you they were not hungry or thirsty," said Heck.
Some medicines can lose their effectiveness if they are left in the heat.
"Usually the manufacturer recommends the medications be stored between 68 and 77 degrees," said Ladue Pharmacy's Angie Kloeppel. "So if you stray from that range of temperatures by leaving it in the car or leaving it in the mailboxes, it can become ineffective or cause side effects that you don't want."
Ladue pharmacy also has a list of medicines that can make patients more susceptible to sun problems.
"There's a bunch of medications on the market that can make you more sensitive to causing a sunburn while you're taking it," said Kloeppel.
Synergy HomeCare offers this additional information regarding heaet-related complications of certain prescription and non-prescription medication:
• 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.