Seniors: Heat Exhaustion & Dehydration

Staying hydrated especially in the summer days is important for everyone, but especially seniors. Often, dehydration and heat exhaustion go hand in hand, so it is important to know what it is, how it happens, what the warning signs are, and tips for preventing it. 

What is Heat Exhaustion & Dehydration?

When a person becomes dehydrated, they cannot produce enough sweat to cool the body because there is an imbalance of fluids or electrolytes in the body. Dehydration diminishes the body’s ability to regulate temperature and dramatically increases risk of developing a heat illness with increased sun exposure. Heat exhaustion happens as a result of the body overheating and can lead to heat stroke without proper intervention. 

Warning Signs of Heat Exhaustion & Dehydration 

The following warning signs may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Please talk to your healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis. The most common symptoms are: 

  • Nausea
  • Pale Skin
  • Excessive Thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Dry Mouth/Swollen Tongue
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle Cramping
  • Headache
  • Less-frequent/dark urine

If an individual is experiencing any of the severe signs below, please call 911 or use their medical alert system immediately. 

  • Fever > 103°F 
  • Fainting 
  • Confusion 
  • Lethargy 
  • Seizures 
  • Difficulty Breathing 
  • Chest/Abdominal Pain 
  • Rapid Heartbeat/Palpitations 

Prevention Tips Warm days are here, so be sure to check on your senior friends, neighbors and loved ones! While social distancing gives them a call and once the stay-at-home order is lifted, don't forget to pay them a visit. Take these steps into consideration if you are loved one are exposed to high temperatures for an extended period of time: 

  • Drink Plenty of Water 
  • Wear Loose-Fitting, Comfortable Clothes 
  • Cover Up Your Skin: Wear Hats, Use Sun Umbrellas, & Wear Sunscreen 
  • Limit Physical Activity When The Heat Index is High 
  • Drink Appropriate Sports Drinks To Maintain Electrolyte Balance 

If your loved one depends on neighbors, family or you for support during the summer and you are unable to provide these services as needed, consider hiring a caregiver with CARE Inc. Call us at 1-800-798-6565 or visit

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