Heatwave: What is the difference between heat stroke and dehydration? Here's everything you need to know

With the heatwave in full force and more extremely hot weather forecast this summer, it’s vital you know what to do if you or a person you know is suffering from heat stroke or dehydration.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Dehydration and heat stroke are two very common heat-related diseases that can be life-threatening if left untreated.

Both conditions need immediate attention – here are the differences and what you should do:

Heat stroke

Use a hand or electric fan to keep cool and take on plenty of fluidsUse a hand or electric fan to keep cool and take on plenty of fluids
Use a hand or electric fan to keep cool and take on plenty of fluids
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Symptoms include – Lightheadedness, headache, nausea with vomiting, muscle cramps, cold, pale, clammy skin, fast, weak pulse and heavy sweating.

What should you do?

Move the person to a cooler place, lower the person’s temperature, don’t let them drink anything, call emergency services straight away.

Lowering the person’s temperature can be done by moving them to a shaded area and elevating their feet, applying cool water to the skin and fanning them, and by applying ice packs under the armpits.


Symptoms include – Increased heart rate and breathing, headache, fatigue, thirst, reduced urination, dry mouth and dry skin.

What should you do?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Rehydrate by drinking fluids or drinks containing electrolytes. More severe cases may need hospital treatment in the form of IV fluids.

How to prevent

Drink penty of fluids when you’re out in the sun. Ideally water.

Try not to do any physical activity during the hottest part of the day.

Wear sunglasses and a hat.

Use sun block.

It is vital you never leave children or pets in hot cars, even for a minute.