Heat Exhaustion

Last updated: August 26, 2019

What Does Heat Exhaustion Mean?

Heat exhaustion is a heat related illness that occurs as the body's response to dehydration. Dehydration and loss of salt through excessive sweating during summer heat or exposure to high temperatures combined with high humidity and physical activities in a workplace or environment will cause heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion may be severe and turn into heat stroke, a life-threatening condition that can damage the brain and other vital organs or even cause death.

Safeopedia Explains Heat Exhaustion

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, extreme weakness or fatigue, dizziness, confusion, faintness, nausea, clammy or moist skin with goose bumps even in the hot environment, pale or flushed complexion, muscle cramps, elevated body temperature, fast and shallow breathing, weak and rapid pulse, low blood pressure and headache. First aid and treatment of heat exhaustion includes:

  • Rest in a cool, shaded or air-conditioned area

  • Drink plenty of water or other cool, non-alcoholic beverages

  • Cool shower, bath or sponge bath or use other cooling measures such as fans or ice towels

  • Remove any tight or unnecessary clothing

The following preventive actions against heat exhaustion may be useful:

  • staying out of the sun

  • walk in the shade

  • apply sunscreen and wear protective headgear

  • avoid extreme physical exertion

  • have plenty of water and cold drinks

  • eat foods with a high water content

  • take a cool shower or bath

  • keep your environment cool

People who are over 65 years of age or suffering from heart, lung or kidney diseases, obesity, underweight, hypertension, respiratory disease, diabetes, mental illness, sickle cell trait, alcoholism, sunburn, pregnancy and any conditions that cause fever are particularly at risk for heat exhaustion.


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