Mental health can be affected by heat

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The heat is on in Bakersfield with the seventh day in a row of triple digit temperatures.

The rise in Mercury can trigger irritability and raise frustration levels in just about everybody.

"It doesn't surprise me, this is Bakersfield. It just kind of makes everyone more irritated. It seems to raise everyone's tempers" said Carlee Darrow.

Forecasters say we we won't see a break in the heat until next week.

"When it stays hot, I find myself getting short with people, then I take a breath and realize everyone's feeling the same thing, it's not just me feeling the heat," said Bryan Walsh.

Mental health experts say consistent hot days can have negative effects on social norms.

"We are all human beings and as the temperature rises, especially if it stays up over a period of time, we all get irritable. So it can cause tempers to fly and people to not get along," said Dean Haddock, clinical psychologist.

Additionally, many people are unaware of the potential dangers that heat can bring on when taking certain prescription drugs.

"One of the problems, if you're taking any type of psychiatric medication and the temperature goes over 90°, it affects your ability to monitor and manage the temperature of your body," said Haddock.

If your body cannot regulate its temperature, medical experts say you're at a greater risk of having a stroke.

You're at a greater risk of heat related complications that could lead to death if you take antidepressants, anti-anxiety and antipsychotic medications. You are urged to stay out of the heat above 95° for long periods of time and stay well hydrated.

"When you take these medications, your brain cannot regulate the heat in your body. It doesn't know whether to sweat or not to sweat and so you can't cool down. You have to force yourself to physically go indoors where it's cool," said Haddock.

Medical experts say even if you don't take medications that affect your body's ability to regulate itself, you should still be aware of the potential risks of the heat.

Heat stroke occurs when the body is unable to properly cool itself. Normally, the human body will regulate temperatures by sweating, but heatstroke impairs the bodies ability to do this. If heatstroke is not treated immediately, it can cause permanent disability and even death.

For a list of medications that could affect you during the heat, click here .

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