Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a severe form of heat illness. It is a medical emergency. Heat exhaustion is caused by the loss of water and electrolytes through sweating.

The United States Department of Labor makes the following recommendation, "Heat illness can be prevented. Remember these three things: water, rest, and shade."[1]

Causes

Common causes of heat exhaustion include:[2]

Especially during physical exertion, risk factors for heat exhaustion include:[2]

Signs and symptoms

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include nausea, dizziness, irritability, headache, thirst, weakness, vomiting, high body temperature, excessive sweating, and decreased urine output.[4]

Treatment

First aid

First aid for heat exhaustion includes:[4][3]

  • Moving the person to a cool place
  • Having the patient take off extra layers of clothes
  • Cooling the patient down by fanning them and/or putting wet towels on their body
  • Having them lie down and put their feet up if they are feeling dizzy
  • Having them drink water or "sports drinks" unless they are unconscious, too disoriented to drink, or vomiting
  • Turning the patient on their side if they are vomiting


Emergency medical treatment

If an individual with heat exhaustion receives medical treatment, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), doctors, and/or nurses may also:[5]

  • Provide supplemental oxygen
  • Administer intravenous fluids and electrolytes if they are too confused to drink and/or are vomiting

Prognosis

If left untreated, heat exhaustion may progress to heat stroke.[4]

See also

References

  1. "How to Workout Safely". Thorough Fitness Products Reviews | Fitness Products Reviews. 2019-07-16. Retrieved 2019-07-16.
  2. "Heat Injury and Heat Exhaustion". www.orthoinfo.aaos.org. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. July 2009. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  3. "Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke". www.nhs.uk. National Health Service of the United Kingdom. June 11, 2015. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  4. Jacklitsch, Brenda L. (June 29, 2011). "Summer Heat Can Be Deadly for Outdoor Workers". NIOSH: Workplace Safety and Health. Medscape and NIOSH.
  5. Mistovich, Joseph J.; Karren, Keith J.; Hafen, Brent (July 18, 2013). Prehospital Emergency Care (10 ed.). Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0133369137.
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