Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. It is the body's response to an excessive loss of the water and salt contained in sweat. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are elderly people, people with high blood pressure, and people working or exercising in a hot environment.

Recognizing Heat Exhaustion
Warning signs of heat exhaustion include the following:
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Headache
  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Paleness
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
Man taking a break from playing tennis and wiping sweat off his forehead
When to Seek Medical Treatment

The skin may be cool and moist. The victim's 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. Seek medical attention immediately if any of the following occurs.

  • Symptoms are severe.
  • The victim has heart problems or high blood pressure.
Otherwise, help the victim to cool off, and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or last longer than 1 hour.

What To Do
Cooling measures that may be effective include the following:
  • An air-conditioned environment
  • Cool shower, bath, or sponge bath
  • Cool, nonalcoholic beverages
  • Lightweight clothing
  • Rest