During this period when parts of the Nation are experiencing record high temperatures, SAMHSA is reminding everyone that these conditions can pose certain health risks to everyone—including people with mental and substance use disorders.
Exposure to excessive heat is dangerous and can lead to heatstroke, which is considered a medical emergency. Heatstroke occurs when an abnormally elevated body temperature is unable to cool itself. Internal body temperatures can rise to levels that may cause irreversible brain damage and death.
Individuals with behavioral health conditions who are taking psychotropic medications, or using certain substances such as illicit drugs and alcohol, may be at a higher risk for heatstroke and heat-related illnesses. These medications and substances can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate heat and an individual’s awareness that his or her body temperature is rising.
More heat is on the way for Minnesota. Please take care of yourself, and check in with folks who may be sensitive to heat. For more information, please check out our entry from earlier this summer. Keep drinking water, maybe check out a library or other public build that has AC, and stay safe.
In other news, we may have a budget and an end to the shutdown in sight. You can find our more on our legislative update page.
We’ve had a few hot days in Minnesota, and hope you all are beating the heat.
Individuals on certain medications may be more vulnerable to heat stress. Persons taking regular medication should consult with their physician. Some medications cause an adverse reaction in hot weather, such as reducing a person’s ability to sweat. If you are on such a medication, or if you know someone who is, please take a look at these strategies for managing heat stress.
To avoid heat-related illness:
Avoid, as much as possible, working or playing in the hot sun or other hot areas. If you must be out in the sun, wear a head covering and sunscreen. A wide brimmed hat or visor will not only protect your head from intense rays of the sun; it will also provide a shield for your eyes.
Shut blinds and open windows slightly during the day to release trapped hot air. Use air conditioners if you have them.
Wear lightweight clothing.
Drink plenty of water and fruit juices; avoid alcohol, carbonated or caffeinated drinks. Because the body loses fluids in the heat, drinking lots of liquids helps to avoid dehydration.
Eat frequent, small meals; avoid high-protein foods
Take cool baths or showers—cold water can lower body temperatures 25 times faster than sitting in an air-conditioned room
Spend time (even 2 hours will reduce the risk of heat-related illness) in an air-conditioned environment or basement; cover windows to block direct sunlight; turn lights on low or off; use fans to blow hot air outside. Public libraries, community centers or other similar locations may be a good option for spending some time away from the heat.
Do NOT direct fans to blow in at you. Fans can actually increase heat stress.
Do not leave older people, children, or pets, alone in cars.
Non-emergency questions about how to stay cool—call 2-1-1 or for emergency heat-related health problems—call 9-1-1