How to Treat Heat Exhaustion

How to Treat Heat Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion is the body's warning that it has lost excessive water and salt as a result of exertion or overexposure to a heat source. Though it generally does not induce an elevated body temperature like the more dangerous condition of heatstroke, heat exhaustion has several easily detected symptoms: heavy sweating, headache, nausea or vomiting, fatigue and weakness, cramps, dizziness and fainting, and clammy, pale skin. Medical help (911) is appropriate if these indications are severe or if the victim is confused, has an elevated temperature or has heart problems or high blood pressure.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Oral rehydration salts Ice Cold compress, towel or bandanna Sports drinks Thermometers
  • Oral rehydration salts
  • Ice
  • Cold compress, towel or bandanna
  • Sports drinks
  • Thermometers
Step 1
Make sure the victim is breathing and conscious. If not, call 911 and begin the cooling procedures below.
Step 2
Take the victim away from heat sources. He should be moved into a shaded area or an air-conditioned environment.
Step 3
Keep the victim lying down and resting quietly. If she is faint or dizzy, her feet should be raised to encourage blood flow to the brain.
Step 4
Undress the victim. Heavy clothing hinders the release of heat from the body.
Step 5
Urge the victim to drink cool water, a sports drink or a rehydration solution ( usually starches or sugars, sodium and potassium). Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
Step 6
Actively work at cooling the victim, dabbing with water, fanning, showering in cool water or covering with wet cloths.

Article Written By Barry Truman

Barry Truman has published many outdoor activity articles in the past five years with International Real Travel Adventures, the Everett Herald and Seattle Post Intelligencer newspapers, Backpacking Light Magazine and He has a forestry degree from the University of Washington.

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