Taking medication on a hot day? What you should know


Medication can cloud our perception or change bodily needs. Those who regularly take medicines should pay particular attention on hot days and discuss changes with their doctor.

Berlin (dpa) - During prolonged heat waves, it may be necessary to adjust the dosage of your medications, experts say.

This is because high temperatures can not only alter their effects—which is why it is recommended that medicines be kept in a cool, dark and dry place—but also your body's reaction to them, points out the consumer advice centre in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. 

If you take a medication that suppresses your sensation of thirst along with a diuretic, for instance, you could become dehydrated, the consumer advisors warn.

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Perspiring heavily and not drinking enough fluids could impair kidney function and possibly affect the concentration of a medication's active ingredient.

Some medications can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, known as photosensitivity, increasing the risk of sunburn or leading to strong skin reactions. These include various antibiotics as well as pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory drugs such as diclofenac and ibuprofen, according to the consumer advisors.

Heat can also intensify your body's reactions to anti-hypertensive medications. The German Heart Foundation warns that hot weather can put people with high blood pressure or cardiovascular problems under serious strain that could result in a sudden drop in blood pressure, circulatory collapse, or heatstroke.

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So if you regularly take medications and outdoor temperatures are high, you should listen even more closely to your body than usual. Ask your pharmacist or doctor about potential side effects and whether your medication dosages should be adjusted.

Last but not least, some general advice: On hot summer days, drink plenty of fluids, stay in the shade and avoid strenuous activities and emotional stress.

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Reporting by Isabelle Modler. Editing by Elena Radwan.

Header image credit: StevepB/Pixabay.