Heat Exhaustion vs. Heatstroke: Aren’t They the Same Thing?

People often thing heat exhaustion and heat stroke are different terms for the same thing. They’re not. Heat exhaustion is serious, but heatstroke is dangerous and needs immediate medical attention.

Home Care in Lake Forest IL: Heat Exhaustion


What is Heat Exhaustion?

Heat exhaustion occurs when a person starts to overheat. Some of the main symptoms are excessive sweating, clammy skin, muscle cramps, and weakness. A person experiencing heat exhaustion may have a fast pulse, dizziness, and nausea. In some cases, there will be a headache and the person can pass out.

If heat exhaustion is suspected, moving to a cool place is essential. A cool shower in a t-shirt and shorts is a good idea. After the shower, instead of changing to dry clothes, have your parents sit in the damp clothes in front of a fan and sip a glass of water.

Heat exhaustion doesn’t always require medical attention. If your parent is getting worse or experiencing the symptoms an hour later, it’s a good time to talk to a doctor for advice.

What is Heat Stroke?

Heatstroke is dangerous. While some of the symptoms are the same as you see in heat exhaustion, the severity is worse. People with heat stroke will have hot skin. The body temperature is over 103 F. The pulse is fast and strong with dizziness and nausea.

A person with heatstroke may seem confused and out of it. It’s not uncommon for the person to pass out. At this point, medical services need to be called.

While you’re waiting for the ambulance, get the person into the shade. Dampen clothes to slowly lower the body temperature. If an ambulance will take a while, you could put your mom or dad into the car and meet the ambulance to save time. Run the AC during the trip.

Keep Your Parents Cool and Hydrated With Elder Care Services

Wouldn’t elderly adults realize it’s hot and measures need to be taken to keep cool and hydrated? Some don’t realize it. Aging can change how much you sweat. It can also make it harder to sense when you’re thirsty. If your parents are not managing heatwaves well, you should schedule elder care services.

Elder care aides can make sure your mom and dad drink water each hour or two. They can make sure your parents stay inside and run air conditioning when it’s very hot. If the AC isn’t working, they can call the repair technician and alert you. Look into elder care services like meal preparation, companionship, and reminders.


If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring  Home Care in Lake Forest, IL, call the caring staff at LifeCare Home Health & In-Home Services. Call (888) 606-4199 LifeCare serves all of the Chicago Metro Area.

LifeCare Home Health & In-Home Services