Heat Exhaustion

What are heat exhaustion?
Heat exhaustion heatstroke

Heat exhaustion or heat illness happens when your body gets too hot. This occurs when your internal temperature reaches at least 104°F. Heatstroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion. It can cause shock, organ failure, or brain damage. In extreme cases, heatstroke can kill you.

How bad is my heat exhaustion?

Mild:

Moderate:

  • Weakness and/or confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Dark-colored urine, which indicates dehydration

Severe:

  • Fever of 104°F or higher
  • Flushed or red skin
  • Lack of sweating
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
How to manage mild heat exhaustion?

Don’t go outside when the temperature and heat index are high. If possible, stay indoors in air-conditioned areas. If you must go outside, take the following precautions.

  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat or using an umbrella.
  • Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Dehydration and lack of salt contribute to heat-related illnesses. Some sports drinks can help replenish the salt in your body lost through sweating. Drink water or other fluids every 15 to 20 minutes, even if you don’t feel thirsty. If your urine is clear, you are probably drinking enough fluids. Dark-colored urine is a sign that you’re dehydrated.
  • Avoid or limit drinks that contain caffeine (such as tea, coffee, and soda) or alcohol.
  • Schedule outdoor activities for cooler times of the day — before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m.
  • Take frequent breaks from the heat and outdoor activities.
  • Do not stay or leave a child in your car when it is hot outside. Even if you open the windows, the intense heat can be extremely dangerous.
How to manage moderate and severe heat exhaustion?

Seek medical help if:

  • Symptoms don’t improve or they still have a fever of 102°F after 30 minutes of initial treatment.
  • The person goes into shock, faints, or has seizures.
  • The person is not breathing. You also should begin CPR right away to try and revive them
What causes heat exhaustion?

Heat-related illnesses occur when your body can’t keep itself cool. As the temperature rises, your body produces sweat to stay cool. On hot, humid days, the increased moisture in the air slows down this process. When your body can’t cool, your temperature rises and you can become ill. A heat index of 90°F or higher calls for extreme caution. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures increases your risk of heat-related illnesses.

The primary causes are

  • Hot weather
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Vigorous exercise
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol

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