The District of Columbia Department of Mental Health is reminding residents taking psychotropic medications to drink plenty of fluids and avoid direct exposure to high temperatures for longer than two hours as certain medications can affect the body’s response to heat and put them at risk for a heat-related illness.
DMH is distributing hyperthermia information to community mental health providers and visiting every certified residential facility to gauge its preparations for the heat, such as an adequate water supply and functioning air conditioners. Also, each operator must submit a relocation plan for its residents in the event of loss of air conditioning or power.
“We are doing all we can to make sure that our community partners are prepared and paying close attention to the people we serve for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke,” said Stephen T. Baron, Director of the Department of Mental Health.
DMH urges residents to follow tips offered by the Department of Health to stay healthy and cool in the heat:
• Drink plenty of water
• Avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, and large amounts of sugar
• Wear clothing that is loose-fitting, light colored and breathable, such as cotton
• Dress infants and children in cool, loose clothing and shade their heads and faces with hats or an umbrella
• Limit sun exposure during mid-day hours and in places of potential severe exposure such as beaches
• Wear sunscreen with 30 SPF of higher
• Schedule outdoor activities carefully
• Do not leave infants, children, or pets in parked cars
• Provide plenty of fresh water for your pets in a shady area
• If you don’t have access to a cool temperature location, go to the District recreation center, library, or senior wellness center closest to you