Traumatic Brain Injury

Brain injury and hot weather: What you need to know about heat sensitivity in TBI patients

At Langdon & Emison, we understand that living with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) presents unique challenges. One often overlooked issue is the sensitivity to hot weather that many TBI patients experience. This guide will help you understand the relationship between brain injury and hot weather, the risks involved, and how to manage heat sensitivity effectively.

What is heat sensitivity?

Heat sensitivity, or thermoregulation impairment, is when the body struggles to maintain a stable internal temperature. The brain’s ability to regulate body temperature can be compromised for TBI patients, making them more susceptible to overheating.

Why does heat sensitivity occur in TBI patients?

The hypothalamus in the brain plays a critical role in temperature regulation. A brain injury can damage this area, disrupting the body’s ability to cool through sweating and other mechanisms. This can increase heat sensitivity and a higher risk of heat-related illnesses, including hyperthermia.

Risks of hot weather for TBI patients

Heat exhaustion

TBI patients are at a higher risk of heat exhaustion, a dangerous condition caused by the body losing excessive water and salt. Symptoms include heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, nausea, and headaches.

Heat stroke

Heat stroke is a severe condition that can occur if heat exhaustion is not treated promptly. It is characterized by a body temperature above 104°F, altered mental state, and potential damage to internal organs. For TBI patients, this can be particularly dangerous due to their already compromised brain function.


Dehydration is common in hot weather, especially for those with TBI. It can exacerbate symptoms of brain injury, such as headaches, confusion, and fatigue. Ensuring adequate hydration is crucial for managing these symptoms.

Managing heat sensitivity in TBI patients

Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of fluids is essential for preventing dehydration. TBI patients should consume water regularly throughout the day, especially during hot weather. Avoiding caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, which can contribute to dehydration, is also important.

Wear appropriate clothing

Lightweight, loose-fitting clothing helps the body stay cool by allowing air circulation. A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses can provide additional sun protection.

Use cooling devices

Personal cooling devices, such as handheld fans, cooling towels, and portable misting fans, can help TBI patients manage their body temperature. Keeping these devices handy during outdoor activities can prevent overheating.

Limit exposure to direct sunlight

Avoiding direct sunlight during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) can reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses. If outdoor activities are necessary, seeking shade and taking frequent breaks in cooler environments are recommended.

Monitor weather conditions

Staying informed about weather forecasts and heat advisories can help TBI patients plan their activities accordingly. On sweltering days, stay indoors in air-conditioned environments.

Know the symptoms of heat-related Illnesses

Being aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke can lead to early intervention and treatment. If symptoms such as confusion, rapid heartbeat, or high body temperature occur, seek medical attention immediately.

Legal considerations for TBI patients in hot weather

Workplace protections

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers must provide a safe working environment, including measures to protect employees from extreme heat. TBI patients should discuss their condition with their employer to ensure appropriate accommodations are made.

Housing rights

Landlords must ensure that rental properties are habitable, including adequate cooling systems. TBI patients who experience issues with their housing conditions can seek assistance through Missouri’s landlord-tenant laws.

Contact Langdon & Emison

If you or a loved one suffers from a brain injury and hot weather exacerbates your condition, it is crucial to understand your rights and the resources available to you. At Langdon & Emison, our experienced attorneys are dedicated to helping TBI patients navigate their legal options and secure the compensation they deserve.

Contact us today for a free consultation and learn how we can assist you in managing the challenges associated with brain injury and hot weather.