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 very least, find a shady spot or sit in front of a fan. 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.
- Try cooling measures. If possible, take a cool shower, soak in a cool bath or put towels soaked in cool water 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 yourself in cold water, misting your skin, placing yourself 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. 25, 2014
- Heat injury and heat exhaustion. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00319. Accessed Oct. 1, 2014.
- 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 Oct. 1, 2014.
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Oct. 1, 2014.
- Mechem CC. Severe nonexertional hyperthermia (classic heat stroke) in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 8, 2014.
- 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 Oct. 2, 2014.
- Dehydration and heat stroke. Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/non-traumatic_emergencies/dehydration_and_heat_stroke_85,P00828/. Accessed Oct. 1, 2014.
- Frequently asked questions about extreme heat. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/faq.asp. Accessed Oct. 1, 2014.