Dear Medical Director/Program Administrator:
Re: Heat Warning
In May, we distributed the annual ODMH update on heat-related illness to help prepare for the hot weather we knew would come. We are now in the midst of a severe heat wave as well as a widespread power outage affecting hundreds of thousands of Ohioans. It is critical that we manage the risks that contribute to heat-related problems to prevent unnecessary illness and even death.
With temperatures and humidity at their current levels, everyone is at risk for heat-related illness. Individuals with mental illness and addictions, along with the very young, the elderly and those with medical problems, are at especially high risk. During this period of extreme weather:
¾ Please be sure to check on patients residing in the community to be certain they have access to a
¾ Prior to patients discharge from hospitals and other residential treatment sites, assure that they
will be going to a safe environment that will protect them from heat-related problems;
¾ Advise patients of the availability and location of "cooling centers" to use as respite; ¾ Encourage everyone to drink plenty of fluids.
Treatment staff should protect themselves in the same way, especially case managers and others who spend much of their time in the community. Like our patients, they need to keep well-hydrated and as cool as possible. Treatment providers need to stay healthy to help our patients stay healthy!
Attached is the 2012 ODMH heat alert. You are encouraged to distribute this information liberally.
Common psychotropic medications
You Can Prevent Heat-
that can impair the heat response
Trade Name Generic Name
There are ways to stay cool
• Open windows in the evening when the
Ohio Department of Mental Health
Mark Hurst, M.D.
*Note: This is not an all-inclusive list
These medications decrease the
Medical Conditions and
body’s response to heat:
Medications Affect Body
Some medicines and medical conditions can
is the most serious heat-
make the body overheat, especially during hot
and humid weather. When the body overheats,
heat-related illness can cause death if not
treated. Here are some medical conditions that
Anticholinergics (e.g. Artane, Cogentin)
• Amphetamines (e.g. dexedrine, Adderall)
is a mild form of heat-related
illness. This can occur while working, playing,
or resting. It may happen without warning. It
may not last long. Call a doctor. Some people
5 Heat Stroke Warning Signs:
(e.g. LSD, psilocybin, “shrooms,” others)
may need intravenous fluids so they do not lose
• Cocaine - all forms, including crack
consciousness. Heat exhaustion can happen in
• Stimulants (e.g. amphetamines, ephedra,
hot, humid weather, especially if a person does
"street speed", methamphetamine)
Anabolic steroids / muscle building drugs
5 Warning Signs of Heat Exhaustion:
Get treatment emergently!
Call 911 immediately. If you are in
a hospital, tell the staff.
These drugs decrease awareness of
heat-related illness. You may not know
5 Treatment to do immediately:
you are in danger:
*Note: Other meds can affect heat
tolerance. Check with your doctor or
pharmacist about your medications.
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