Heat exhaustion is one of the heat-related syndromes. Symptoms range in severity from mild heat cramps to heat exhaustion to potentially life-threatening heatstroke. Heat exhaustion can begin suddenly, usually after working or playing in the heat, perspiring heavily or being dehydrated.
Heat exhaustion signs and symptoms include:
- Faintness or dizziness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Heavy sweating often accompanied by cold, clammy skin
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Pale or flushed face
- Muscle cramps
- Weakness or fatigue
If you suspect heat exhaustion
Untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, which is a life-threatening condition. If you suspect heat exhaustion, take these steps immediately:
- Move the person out of the heat and into a shady or air-conditioned place.
- Lay the person down and elevate the legs and feet slightly.
- Remove tight or heavy clothing.
- Have the person drink cool water or other nonalcoholic beverage without caffeine.
- Cool the person by spraying or sponging with cool water and fanning.
- Monitor the person carefully.
Call 911 or your local emergency number if the person's condition deteriorates, especially if he or she experiences:
March 31, 2015
- Fever of 104 F (40 C) or greater
- What to do in a medical emergency: Heat-related illnesses. American College of Emergency Physicians. http://www.emergencycareforyou.org/EmergencyManual/WhatToDoInMedicalEmergency/Default.aspx?id=254&terms=heat+exhaustion. Accessed Feb. 16, 2015.
- Ishimine P. Heat illness (other than heat stroke) in children. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 16, 2015.
- Heat stress. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress. Accessed Feb. 16, 2015.
- O'Connor FG, et al. Exertional heat illness in adolescents and adults: Management and prevention. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 16, 2015.
- Heat injury and heat exhaustion. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00319. Accessed Feb. 16, 2015.