Heat and Chronic Conditions

Key points

  • Extreme heat can be dangerous for anyone, but it can be especially dangerous for those with chronic medical conditions.
  • If you or someone you know has a chronic medical condition, follow the information below to help keep you, or the person in your care, safe.

What increases risk

Older woman sitting inside, drinking from a glass of water while her caretaker sits beside her.
Take steps to protect yourself and others during extreme heat.

Why are people with chronic medical conditions more vulnerable to extreme heat?

  • They may be less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature.
  • They may be taking medications that can make the effect of extreme heat worse.
  • Conditions like heart disease, mental illness, poor blood circulation, and obesity are risk factors for heat-related illness. Individuals who have overweight or obesity tend to retain more body heat.

Stay safe during extreme heat

Stay cool and stay hydrated.

  • Follow tips on how to prevent heat-related illness.
  • Keep in mind that heavy sweating can remove salt and minerals from your body. Talk to your doctor about how to safely replace salt and minerals lost through sweating.
  • Do not engage in very strenuous activities and get plenty of rest.
  • Check on a friend or neighbor, and have someone do the same for you.
  • Check the local news for health and safety updates regularly.

Caretaker Checklist

Keep a close eye on those in your care by visiting them at least twice a day, and ask yourself these questions:

Question #1
  • Are they drinking enough water?
Question #2
  • Do they have access to air conditioning?
Question #3
  • Do they know how to keep cool?
Question #4
  • Do they show any signs of heat stress?

Learn how to spot heat-related illness.