Heat Stroke Precautions: Tips to Avoid Dehydration in Summer


With rising temperatures soaring higher than 40°C in some places around India, it becomes imperative for everyone to stay cool, alert and hydrated this summer to avoid heat-related illnesses, such as dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke/summer stroke. Several heat wave warnings sweeping across the country have arisen, cautioning people to keep themselves safe during the summer season. Here, we have compiled a list of tips to keep yourself safe and hydrated this summer, but first, you should know about the symptoms of a heat stroke.

What Happens if You Get a Heat Stroke?

Heat stroke and exhaustion occur when the body cannot control core body temperature. This happens as a result of excessive sun and heat exposure. You may experience signs of heat stroke, such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • High body temperature, often above 104 degrees

In severe cases, heat stroke can cause life-threatening symptoms. You may develop confusion, irrational thoughts, or seizures, which occur because the various body systems are shutting down. These are severe signs of heat stroke in adults and require immediate medical attention. If these symptoms arise, it’s crucial to seek emergency medical care as early as possible. Heat stroke is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment to prevent serious complications or death. 

Read on to understand how you can keep yourself cool despite the heat during this summer season.

Tips to Keep Yourself Safe from a Heat Stroke

Here are eight tips to keep yourself cool and safe from heat exhaustion this summer.

  • Stay hydrated.

Staying hydrated is key to maintaining a healthy body temperature, particularly when exercising or going outdoors. When you’re dehydrated, your body can’t cool itself as effectively, which can cause heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Drinking adequate fluids throughout the day can help to prevent this. Before going out or exercising, keep a drink handy containing electrolytes, salt, and small amounts of sugar to replenish those substances you have lost while sweating out. It’s important to drink before you feel thirsty, as thirst is not always a sign of your body’s need for fluids. 

  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothes.

Wear clothes that enable air to pass through, especially those made of cotton. Tight-fitting clothes that sit tight on your body will not allow your body to cool down properly. 

  • Use sun protection 

One of the effects of going out in excess heat is getting sunburn. Sunburns affect the body’s ability to cool down. So you should protect yourself from the sun by using proper protection like umbrellas, wide-brimmed hats, gloves, and caps. Sunscreens with SPF protection 30 and above can protect the skin from sunburns and tans. Apply the sunscreen generously and reapply every two to three hours for optimal protection against the UV rays of the sun. If you go out to swim or sweat a lot, reapply sunscreen more often. 

  • Get used to the heat.

If you spend most of your time in the air conditioning and then try working under the sun, your body may not be ready for that kind of heat exposure. This is because your body needs time to adjust to the heat, a process known as acclimatization. Acclimatization helps your body to gradually adapt to the heat, making it easier for you to work or exercise in hot conditions. It’s safer to introduce yourself gradually to the summer sun than do it all at once.

  • Don’t overexert yourself.

Avoid working out or exercising intensely when the temperatures outside are soaring. You should also limit physical exertion during the hottest hours of the day. If you can’t avoid it, ensure ample hydration thoroughly. 

  • Be aware of medicinal reactions.

Some prescription medicines can increase your risk of heat stroke and associated problems when exposed to severe heat conditions. This is because these medications can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate its temperature or favor water elimination from the body. For example, certain blood pressure medications, diuretics, and antihistamines can increase the risk of heat stroke. Thus, it can further become an enabler in disrupting the body’s ability to regulate its core temperature in a heat wave. You can benefit from talking to your healthcare provider about the side effects of any prescription medicines you may take. 

  • Take it easy during the hottest parts of the day.

If you have to perform strenuous activities during the daytime, you should take proper precautions beforehand. Keep fluids handy and take sun protection. Try to perform outdoor work during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening. It’s always good to check the hourly weather updates before embarking on outdoor activities.

  • Pay special attention to at-risk people.

Children, infants, and older people are more prone to heat stroke as their bodies aren’t acclimated to heat variations thoroughly. As caregivers, your role is vital in helping them beat the heat effectively. Give them something to drink often, make their working or sleeping environments cool, and check on them regularly for any signs of heat exhaustion. Never expose babies to direct sun or heat for longer periods. You should ensure special care for babies and look for heat stroke symptoms like dry mouth, sunken soft spot on their head, not shedding a tear when they cry, and not wetting their diaper even after 8 hours at a stretch. 

Older adults with certain chronic health problems like obesity, hypertension, alcoholism, mental illness and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are more vulnerable to heat stroke. Pay special attention to them to ensure their well-being. You should also make sure not to leave behind anyone in a locked car or parked in the sun. 


Heat stroke is not to be taken lightly. It is a serious condition that requires immediate medical care. If not treated promptly, it can lead to severe complications in the brain, heart, lungs, muscles, and kidneys. The damage worsens when heat stroke treatment is delayed. This underscores the urgency and importance of seeking medical help at the earliest signs of heat stroke.

This blog has been verified by Dr. Nagavender Rao M, MBBS, MD (General Medicine).