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People on Certain Medications at Risk from the Heat Falk Urges Residents to Check on Family Friends and Neighbors

For more information contact:

Sharyn Wisniewski (608) 267-8823
Dr. Ron Diamond (608) 263-6098 (Wednesday)
(608) 280-2402 (Thursday)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 8/20/2001

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
People on certain prescription medications, particularly anti-psychotic drugs and most specifically clozapine, used to treat schizophrenia and related disorders, are at greater risk of dehydration or heat related disorders, Dane County health officials warned today.

"Our health and human service and emergency management employees are doing extensive outreach to alert individuals who may be at risk," said Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk. "But I ask neighbors, relatives and friends to check on people they know."

Dr. Ron Diamond, medical director for the Mental Health Center of Dane County, said individuals on these medications are potentially more subject to fatal heat stroke. "It is important to drink liquids, particularly water, and to be in cool places," said Diamond.

He said a few years ago in Wisconsin, eight people taking clozapine, many of whom were young men, died from heat stroke during a heat wave.

Diamond said people most susceptible tend to be reclusive, shut into apartments with little ventilation, or are people who exercise in the heat.

"Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you have any question about how your medication may make you more at risk for heat stroke," said Diamond.

Falk said the county's 16 Community Centers are open to anyone of any age who needs an air-conditioned facility. For the location of the nearest facility, or to request transportation, call the Senior Hotline at 266-9007, 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The county executive also thanked corporate partners, K-Mart, Alliant Energy, and MG&E that have contributed to the purchase of cooling fans being distributed by county staff to targeted elderly citizens in danger of heat related illnesses. If other corporate contributors would like to donate toward this program, they are encouraged to contact Dane County Emergency Management at 266-4330.
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