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Summer travel tips – Heat and medical conditions

Written by: Russell Wallace | Travel Insurance Expert
Last updated: 4 July 2024 | Created: 4 July 2024

High temperatures can impact various medical conditions. For example, some antidepressants (SSRIs) can make you more prone to heatstroke. If you have respiratory issues, heart problems, diabetes, or mental health concerns, staying informed can help you travel confidently and enjoy your summer.

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What medical conditions are sensitive to heat?

Many health concerns can be affected by warmer weather, like asthma, COPD, heart conditions, diabetes, and mental health issues. Heatwaves can worsen these, leading to more severe symptoms and sometimes complications.

Heat and respiratory problems

Warm weather can worsen conditions such as asthma and COPD. Hot air irritates the airways, making breathing harder, especially when there are high pollution levels. If you have asthma, your symptoms might be more severe and frequent during the summer months.

How to manage respiratory conditions:

  • Avoid outdoor activities if pollution is high: Use air quality apps to keep track of levels.
  • Keep rescue inhalers handy: Make sure you have quick access to medication.
  • Stay indoors during peak heat and humidity: Use air conditioning to stay cool and filter out pollutants.

Hot weather and heart conditions

High temperatures make your body work harder to stay cool, increasing your heart rate and stress on your cardiovascular system. This can be dangerous for those with heart conditions.

Managing your heart health.

  • Stay hydrated: Dehydration can increase heart strain, so drink plenty of fluids.
  • Avoid heavy meals and strenuous activity: Both can overwork your heart. Opt for lighter meals and moderate activities.
  • Keep cool: Stay in shaded areas or use air conditioning during the hottest parts of the day.

Diabetes management during heatwaves

Managing diabetes in hot weather is challenging. Higher temperatures can cause your blood glucose levels to fluctuate, making it harder to keep them within a target range.

Can heat make diabetes worse? Yes, it can affect blood sugar levels and insulin effectiveness.

Tips for diabetics

  • Keep an eye on your blood sugar levels: Regular monitoring is essential.
  • Drink plenty of water: Dehydration affects insulin absorption and blood sugar control.
  • Keep insulin cool: Store insulin in a cool place. Avoid direct sunlight or hot environments.

Hot weather and mental health

Warmer weather can impact mental health, affecting mood and cognitive function. It can cause irritability, anxiety, and reduced concentration. If you’re already dealing with a mental health condition, the heat can make things worse. Some antidepressants can also make you more susceptible to heatstroke.

Tips for managing mental health:

  • Stay cool and hydrated: Physical discomfort can worsen mental health issues.
  • Limit outdoor activities: Avoid heat-induced stress by staying indoors during the hottest part of the day.
  • Seek support: Talk to someone if you’re feeling overwhelmed or experiencing significant changes in mood.

Hot weather can exacerbate various health concerns. Stay hydrated, keep cool, and monitor your health closely. Understanding how heat affects your body will help you stay safe and enjoy your summer.

At AllClear, we want you to travel with confidence, knowing you have the right cover and information to keep you safe.