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Signs of Dehydration and Heat Stroke

Infographic depicting 7 safety tips for spending time outdoors in the summer heat


Summer is all about fun in the sun. But too much time in the heat can be dangerous. Get familiar with the warning signs of dehydration and heat stroke to keep your family safe while enjoying outdoor fun.

Signs of Dehydration

Dehydration is when your body doesn’t have enough fluids to perform its normal functions. Anyone can get dehydrated in the heat, but children and seniors have the highest risk.

Not everyone will show all the signs of dehydration, but common symptoms include:

  • Thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Reduced urination
  • Dark urine
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Heavy breathing
  • Rapid heart rate

Dehydration symptoms in children may also include:

  • No tears when crying
  • Dry diapers for three hours or more
  • High fever
  • Sunken-in eyes or cheeks
  • Loss of skin elasticity (pinched skin does not snap back to its original state)

Signs of Heat Stroke

Heat stroke occurs when your body gets too hot and cannot sweat enough to cool you. It’s a life-threatening emergency and needs immediate medical treatment.

Common symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • High body temperature (104ºF or higher)
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Seizure
  • Hot, dry, red skin
  • Heavy breathing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Hallucinations
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Unconsciousness

Stay Safe in the Heat

You and your family can have lots of outdoor fun this summer. Just be sure you:

  • Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothes (light colors are best).
  • Wear a hat and stay in the shade when possible.
  • Rest often.
  • Mist yourself with a water bottle to cool off.
  • Limit your time outdoors on very hot and humid days.
  • NEVER leave children or pets in an unattended car.

If someone gets overheated, move him or her to a cooler place and give water or a sports drink with electrolytes right away. Call a doctor to find out if medical care is needed. If a person is showing signs of heat stroke, call 911 immediately.