Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after long exposure to high temperatures and inadequate water. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are elderly people, people with high blood pressure, and people working or exercising in a hot environment.
Recognizing Heat Exhaustion
Warning signs of heat exhaustion include the following:
The skin may be cool and moist. The victim's pulse rate will be fast and weak, and breathing will be fast and shallow. If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke.
Seek medical attention immediately if any of the following occurs:
Otherwise, help the victim to cool off, and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or last longer than 1 hour.
What to Do
Heat stroke occurs when the body's temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106 degrees or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.
Recognizing Heat Stroke
Warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include the following:
What to Do
Sometimes a victim's muscles will begin to twitch uncontrollably as a result of heat stroke. If this happens, keep the victim from injuring himself, but do not place any object in the mouth and do not give fluids. If there is vomiting, make sure the airway remains open by turning the victim on his or her side.