In most cases, you can treat heat exhaustion yourself by doing the following:
- Rest in a cool place. Getting into an air-conditioned building is best, but at the least, find a shady spot. Rest on your back with your legs elevated higher than your heart level.
- Drink cool fluids. Stick to water or sports drinks. Don't drink any alcoholic beverages, which can contribute to dehydration.
- Apply cool water to your skin. If possible, take a cool shower or soak in a cool bath. Don't use alcohol on your skin.
- Loosen clothing. Remove any unnecessary clothing and make sure your clothes are lightweight and nonbinding.
If you don't begin to feel better within one hour of using these treatment measures, seek prompt medical attention. You may be given intravenous (IV) fluids to help you rehydrate. Immersing you in cold water, misting your skin, placing you in front of fans, or using cold or ice packs and cooling blankets are some of the techniques that may be used to bring down your body temperature.
Nov. 18, 2011
- Heat injury and heat exhaustion. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00319. Accessed Aug. 17, 2011.
- Extreme heat: A prevention guide to promote your personal health and safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heat_guide.asp. Accessed Aug. 17, 2011.
- Platt M, et al. Heat illness. In: Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..X0001-1--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05472-0&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed Aug. 18, 2011.
- Mechem CC. Severe hyperthermia (heat stroke) in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 18, 2011.
- Mattis JG, et al. Heat stroke: Helping patients keep their cool. Nurse Practitioner. 2011;36:48.
- Using the heat index: A guide for employers. U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration. http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/heat_index/index.html. Accessed Aug. 24, 2011.
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