From Stillwater-Ponca City (OK) Ostomy Outlook June 2002:

Heat Concerns for Ostomates
Summer Fluid Needs

by Eileen Carter, RN/ET; via Worcester (MA) New Diversions

Summertime is a time of increased physical activity and weather extremes. We can prevent life-threatening heat related injuries, such as the deaths from the heat wave Chicago experienced in 1995, by taking small precautions.


  • Being out in the full sun.
  • An unusual amount of physical exertion.
  • High humidity.
  • Working or standing near furnaces or ovens.
  • Recent flu or high doses of water pills.
  • Decreased thirst sensation leading to lowered fluid intake.

The process by which your body fights heat:
During this process, extra fluids are needed to keep your important organs from being deprived.

  • You perspire losing salt and water.
  • Your body brings the circulation near the skin to release heat and cool off.

Early signs of trouble:

  • Dark, odorous urine.
  • Profuse sweating.
  • Difficulty concentrating.

Signs of serious trouble:

  • Trembling or vomiting.
  • Headache or rapid breathing.
  • Pale, hot and/or dry skin.
  • Confusion.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Dizziness.


  • Go to the shade.
  • Lie down with your feet up.
  • Apply cold water to your body; i.e., cover yourself with soaked towels.
  • Remove excess clothing.
  • Call your doctor if the symptoms are not relieved in a few minutes.


  • An ileostomy requires two to four more cups of fluid each day because of high liquid output.
  • Drink fluids before going out to summer activities.
  • Favor water, fruit or vegetable juice, and sport drinks, over alcohol and or caffeine beverages.
  • Choose cold drinks.
  • Bring liquids with you and take frequent sips.
  • Drink ten glasses of water each day, and even more if you have an ileostomy or urostomy.
  • Stay in the shade.
  • Wear loose clothing, especially loose at your neck, wrist and ankles.
  • Keep your shirt on in the sun.
  • Don't self-prescribe salt pills, although ileostomates should maintain adequate salt intake.

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Content last revised 2002-06-16