Heat Exhaustion: Prevention and Treatment

By Norma J. Goodwin, MD, Founder & President, Health Power

Heat Exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness than heat stroke.  It can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and either not enough funds or an unbalanced replacement of fluids.

Persons at Increased Risk of Heat Exhaustion

  • elderly people
  • people with high blood pressure (hypertension) and
  • people who work or exercise in a hot environment.

Warning Signs of Heat Exhaustion

The warning signs of heat exhaustion include the following:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Paleness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting

The skin may be cool and moist.  The pulse rate will be fast and weak, and breathing will be fast and shallow.  If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke.  Get medical attention if symptoms worsen or last longer than one hour.

Cooling the Body during Heat Exhaustion

  • Drink cool, non-alcoholic beverages
  • Rest
  • Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.
  • Seek an air-conditioned environment.
  • Wear lightweight clothing.


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