With summer just around the corner it’s important to stay hydrated and safe from the sunlight. Staying hydrated in the summer heat is essential as dehydration can lead to heat stroke, which is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.1 Individuals also need to be aware of their current medication regimen and how it might impact their reaction to the increased sunlight. Most don’t realize some medications can react negatively with sunlight causing an increase risk of sunburn or even a photosensitivity reaction.
Drinking water tops the list of how to stay healthy in the heat. Although water intake varies2 depending on several factors (including age, size, gender, health, activity level, and weather), as a general rule of thumb, aim to drink 8-10 cups of water every day.1 Staying hydrated in the heat will decrease your chances of needing medical attention. Click here more information on heat related illnesses.
Medications with Sunlight Side-Effects
Knowing the side effects of medication is important year-round, but especially when there is a potential for increased sun exposure. Medications can increase your sensitivity to the sun from a minor sunburn to a phototoxic or photoallergic reaction set off by the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
- Phototoxic Reaction: Occurs when UV radiation reacts with a drug to form compounds that damage the skin.
- Results: Sunburn-like symptoms
- Photoallergic Reaction: This is less common, but usually happens when UV light changes a substance applied to the skin, causing an immune response.
- Results: Bumps, hives, blisters, or red blotches
Common Drugs that Can Increase Your Risk of Sunburn
- Antiarrhythmics (cardiac drugs)
- Diuretics (used to treat hypertension, heart failure or edema)
- NSAID (Ibuprofen or naproxen)
- Acne Mediations
For a detailed list of medications click here.
Staying Hydrated & Safe
- Check all medications: Check medications to see if sun sensitivity is listed as a side effect for current and future prescriptions.
- Hydrate: Drink plenty of water, especially when in the heat!
- Cover Up: Use sunscreen and reapply, wear protective clothing or try to stay in the shade as much as possible!
- Stay cool: Use cooling towels when outside for long periods of time and try to do outdoor activities in the morning or evening.
- Know the signs: If you start experiencing any symptoms shown here move to a cool place and follow the “What to do” steps.