Heatstroke and Heat Exhaustion: Symptoms, Treatment, & Prevention Tips

Heatstroke and Heat Exhaustion: Symptoms, Treatment, & Prevention Tips

Getting a certain amount of sunshine is healthy, but summer heat can also cause various illnesses that generate similar unwanted symptoms. Learning the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke can help you determine when it's time to call a doctor. Remember that heat stroke, unlike heat exhaustion, can be deadly.

What Causes Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke?

Heat exhaustion often leads to heat stroke, but the two conditions are still different. Many times heat exhaustion occurs when doing strenuous exercise while exposed to high temperatures and humidity. It may also arise from dehydration due to lack of fluids in the body. The process of heat exhaustion can develop over several days.

Casues of Heat Exhaustion

Heat Exhaustion Symptoms

Rising temperature is a crucial symptom of heat exhaustion, as the body is unable to cool itself. Other symptoms include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Cold skin
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches

The individual may even appear to be on the verge of fainting.

Heat Stroke Treatment

Like heat exhaustion, high body temperature is a symptom of heat stroke, except the temperature, may get up to 104°F or higher. People suffering from this condition may exhibit confusion, nausea, and trouble walking. Additionally, their skin may appear to be red, along with trouble breathing. They may also have problems maintaining a steady pulse or remaining conscious. If you notice that someone exhibits these symptoms, you should call 911 immediately. Heat stroke can be fatal if not treated promptly. While a patient is awaiting medical help, follow these tips to keep them cool and relaxed:

  • It's best to keep them in a cool location.
  • You may even want to fill a tub with ice water for them to use for cooling off.
  • Ice packs or cold towels may be used to help cool off the head and body.
  • Drinking water may also help cool down body temperature.

Heatstroke Prevention Tips

Heat Stroke Prevention Tips

You should follow these heat stroke prevention tips to stay safe during summers:

  • Avoid working or exercising outdoors in hot, humid weather
  • Wear loose and light clothing
  • Keep water close in hot conditions
  • Drink liquids containing electrolytes
  • Pay attention to weather reports
  • Avoid alcohol, which may contribute to dehydration

Everyone must protect themselves from excessive heat in the summer. If you suffer from the symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, you can contact our Family Care Centers for both primary care and non-appointment walk-in urgent care. We offer medical treatment for a wide array of other health conditions.

Category: Heatstroke and Heat Exhaustion


Brian Coyne

Brian Coyne, MD. Dr. Coyne is a board certified family practice physician serves fpr Family Care Centers - Fountain Valley. He completed his undergraduate degree at UCLA before earning his medical degree at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Dr. Coyne spent 6 years in the US Air Force at Andrews and Luke Air force at Andrews and Luke Air Force bases, eventually separating as a Major. He enjoys working with patients of all ages.

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