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Dehydration & Sunstroke

Summer weather is great for pool parties and barbecues, but with the summer sun also comes an increased risk of dehydration and sunstroke. Learn more about the difference between the two, as well as how to stay cool and hydrated so you can continue to enjoy the summer fun.

What are Dehydration and Sunstroke?

Dehydration is a decrease in the body’s water balance. Water is crucial for survival since approximately 75 percent of the human body is water, so dehydration can have severe health consequences. Proper hydration is particularly important in hot weather to help lower the risk of heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and sunstroke.

Sunstroke, or heat stroke, occurs when the body loses its ability to cool itself and body temperature rises above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Certain groups of people including infants, young children and older adults, as well as those taking certain medications or with certain health conditions, are more prone to these conditions.

Signs of Dehydration

Signs and symptoms of dehydration vary depending on how severe the condition becomes. One of the top indicators of hydration levels is the color of urine: pale or clear urine indicates good hydration levels while darker urine points to dehydration. In addition to darker urine, early symptoms of dehydration may include thirst and decreased urine production. Moderate dehydration may also include the following symptoms:

  • Lethargy

  • Dry mouth

  • Muscle weakness

  • Dizziness

  • Headache

Severe dehydration may include the above symptoms plus the following:

  • Sunken eyes

  • Lack of sweating

  • Dry, shriveled skin

  • Low blood pressure

  • Fever