Chronic health conditions, like heart disease, mental health conditions, diabetes, kidney disease, poor blood circulation, and obesity are risk factors for heat illness. People with chronic health conditions may have greater heat vulnerability because they have more factors affecting their body’s ability to regulate temperature, such as taking prescription medicines that affect the body’s ability to control its temperature or sweat.

Some health complications that can result from exposure to extreme heat include*:

Caregivers and family members of people with chronic health conditions should take precautions to ensure their safety during hot weather.

Mother helping the boy with inhaler

Follow these tips to help you become heat ready and reduce health risks:

Keep These Other Helpful Tips in Mind

  • Do you use any medical devices (respirators, power wheelchairs, dialysis machines, etc.) that are battery operated or require electricity? Power outages during extreme heat can threaten your mobility and health. Have a backup plan. The FDA offers this Home Use Devices Booklet: How to Prepare for and Handle Power Outages for Medical Devices that Require Electricity (PDF – 5.1MB).
  • If you’re unable to travel to or find an air-conditioned space, consider the following at home:
    • Close windows, doors, shades, and curtains to prevent hot air and sunlight from entering during the hottest parts of the day.
    • If air conditioning isn’t available, take extra precautions. The use of fans can help mitigate some heat, but high temperatures without humidity can make fans ineffective in properly cooling your body.
    • Wet a towel with cool water and place it on the back of your neck. Light-colored, lightweight, loose-fitting clothing made of natural fabrics also help.
    • Take a cool shower or bath to help reduce body temperature and provide relief from the heat.

For more information, visit the Department of Aging website.

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