Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Senior man sitting outside in harsh sunlight

Everyone knows that summer is the season for outdoor fun. However, if you overdo it, you might find yourself struggling to deal with the heat. Learn the symptoms of heat stroke, so you can avoid getting sidelined with a serious injury this summer.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Swimming, hiking, barbeques, or just kicking back on the beach are all activities that are synonymous with the summer. No matter what you love doing when the weather warms up, knowing how to do it safely as a senior is essential to your health and well-being. One thing that seniors, in particular, have to be careful about is overexposure to hot temperatures.

Why Should Seniors Be Aware of Heat Stroke?

Have you noticed that the heat is getting a little harder to handle in your golden years? It isn’t just your imagination. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises all seniors to be aware that they have a heightened risk of heat-related illness. Because of the ways our bodies change as we age, seniors tend to have more difficulty regulating their internal temperatures. That makes ailments like heat exhaustion more likely – and more dangerous.

This may sound like a good reason to stay inside, but there are still a lot of benefits that come along with enjoying the great outdoors. Instead of avoiding the outdoors, learn to spot the symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion so you can stay safe in high temperatures.

Is It Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke?

In order to understand the symptoms of heat stroke, it’s helpful to first understand heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is your body’s way of warning you that the heat is too extreme to handle safely, and has some specific symptoms you can keep an eye out for:

  • Dizziness, headaches, confusion, and/or nausea
  • Excessive sweating and cramps
  • Fast pulse and/or high body temperature
  • Loss of appetite
  • Extreme thirst

If someone is experiencing heat exhaustion, don’t panic! They should be able to recover quickly once they cool down. Move them to a cool place, give them plenty of fluids, and provide ice packs or other cooling tools if they are available. They should recover within 30 minutes or so.

If you are unable to cool someone down adequately when they are experiencing heat exhaustion, that’s when heat stroke becomes a possibility. Unlike heat exhaustion, heat stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. If you see any of the following symptoms, especially in someone who has experienced heat exhaustion, call emergency services as soon as possible:

  • Unable to lower their body temperature/pulse despite actively cooling down
  • No longer sweating despite high heat
  • Extreme confusion
  • Loss of consciousness or seizures
  • Fast breathing or shortness of breath

It’s important to remember that heat stroke is a serious medical issue and can be very dangerous if left untreated. If you are unsure whether someone is experiencing heat exhaustion or heat stroke, don’t wait. Get help right away.

How Can I Avoid Heat Stroke?

Knowing how to spot the symptoms of heat stroke is helpful, but knowing how to avoid it is even better! Follow these tips from the experts to make sure heat stroke doesn’t ruin your summer fun:

  • Hydrate frequently, and carry water with you during hot weather.
  • Avoid the sun while it’s at its peak, typically between 11 am and 3 pm.
  • Wear loose, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool baths and showers if you overheat.
  • Avoid things that can dehydrate you, like alcohol and extreme exercise.

You don’t have to stay inside all summer. Just be careful, drink lots of water, and be sure to keep an eye on the heat.


Are you an active senior, rain or shine? Then you’ll love the assisted living community at Kinship Pointe. Give us a call today!

Hoping to retire in Nebraska? Look no further than Kinship Pointe. We offer assisted living and independent living communities in four locations: Kearney NorthridgeMcCookSeward, and Wayne. At Kinship Pointe, our delightful staff works every day to help residents pursue their passions and live life to the fullest. To learn for yourself what makes Kinship Pointe so special, schedule a tour or contact us online.

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