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Image description: Don’t leave your kids in the car while you run an errand. It only takes a few minutes for the car to heat up and turn deadly. Learn more about the dangers of heatstroke in a car.

Image description: Don’t leave your kids in the car while you run an errand. It only takes a few minutes for the car to heat up and turn deadly.

Learn more about the dangers of heatstroke in a car.

Avoid Dehydration to Prevent Heat Exhaustion or Stroke

Hot summer months mean lots of outdoor activities, lots of time in the sun, and lots and lots of sweating - perfect ingredients for a dangerous case of dehydration, which can lead to heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.

The best way to stop dehydration? Take preemptive steps to prevent it. Drink lots of water, and stay hydrated. On an average day, for an average person, the recommended fluid amount is three quarts of water - if you’re out in the sun or the heat, increase this amount.

Aside from keeping yourself hydrated, the next best thing to do is learn the symptoms and warning signs, so that at the first recognition, you can take action to prevent the situation from worsening.

Symptoms of dehydration in adults include:

  • Unusual thirst

  • Less frequent urination, or dark-colored urine

  • Dry skin, especially when one would ordinarily be sweating

  • Fatigue, dizziness, fainting

Symptoms of dehydration in children and infants include the same ones as those found in adults, with a few additions:

  • Dry mouth/tongue

  • No wet diapers for over three hours

  • Crying without tears

  • High fever

  • Being unusually tired

If any of these signs are observed, encourage the symptomatic person to go into a cool place, or at least go into shade, out of the hot sun. Then, be sure to offer fluids, urge the person to lie down or to rest, and, if available, encourage them to shower, bathe, or sponge off with a cold compress.

Mild dehydration is best treated with small amounts of fluid often, rather than forcing large amounts all at once. Electrolyte solutions (like sports drinks, or similar products) and freezer pops are also helpful.

Once a person becomes dehydrated, they are at risk for heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Stay alert for the symptoms:

  • Body temperature above 104 degrees

  • Confusion or bizarre behavior

  • Strong, rapid pulse

  • Lack of sweating

  • Faintness or unconsciousness

If any of these are observed, medical assistance may be necessary. Typical treatment consists of the administration of intravenous fluids and a hospital stay. If heat-related illnesses go untreated, seizures, permanent brain damage, or even death can occur.

Remember: dehydration and heat exhaustion are 100 percent preventable by being smart and sun-savvy! Drink water and embrace the shade - it’s all about the balance.

Tips for Dealing with Extreme Heat

Extreme heat can be very dangerous, leading to heat stroke and death. Heat stroke occurs when your temperature rises quickly and your body cannot cool down. This condition is life-threatening, but it is preventable.

Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness

  • Stay in air-conditioned space if possible. If your home is not air-conditioned, go to a public library, heat-relief shelter, or other cool location.
  • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids (check with your doctor if you are usually supposed to limit your fluids).
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing.
  • Cut back on exercise. 
  • Closely watch those who are at high risk of heat-related illness, including older adults, young children, and individuals with physical and/or mental illnesses. 
  • NEVER leave anyone in an enclosed, parked vehicle.

If you believe that you or someone else may be suffering from heat stroke or another heat-related illness, get help right away. It could be a life or death emergency.

Get Help Paying Your Home Heating Bills this Winter

If you can’t afford to pay your winter heating bill, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) may be able to help with:

  • Home energy bills
  • Energy crisis
  • Weatherization and energy-related home repairs

Assistance is available to low-income families who spend a large portion of income on home heating and cooling.

Contact your state or Indian tribe or tribal organization agency for eligibility requirements and to apply. For help applying, you can also call 1.866.NRG.NEAR (674.6327)

Extreme heat is dangerous. Learn how to keep cool and stay healthy as temperatures rise.