Heat exhaustion is a heat-related illness that can occur after you’ve been exposed to high temperatures and is often accompanied by dehydration.
There are two types of heat exhaustion: water depletion and salt depletion. Water depletion heat exhaustion occurs when a person is exposed to high temperatures without sufficient fluid intake. Symptoms often occur over a few hours. The best way to avoid this type of illness is to stay hydrated. Salt depletion heat exhaustion typically develops over several days. Though less common, this type of illness affects people who stay well hydrated but fail to replace normal body salts and minerals. The best way to avoid this type of illness is to drink an electrolyte-rich sports drink when it is very hot and humid.
Though heat exhaustion may be treated without medical intervention, it is important to remember it is a serious medical condition that needs prompt attention, or it may progress to heatstroke. Heat exhaustion symptoms include:
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious medical conditions. Heat exhaustion begins with general muscle weakness and sudden, excessive sweating. A heat stroke occurs when your body’s internal temperature reaches over 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat stroke is a much more serious type of heat exhaustion. In fact, it is a life-threatening illness that can lead to devastating and permanent neurological disabilities. Common symptoms of heatstroke are:
The most important treatment for heat exhaustion is to focus on lowering the body’s temperature as quickly as possible. Additional treatments for heat exhaustion include:
If you do not begin to feel better within 1 hour of using these treatments, seek urgent medical treatment.
Confusion and dizziness are common symptoms of heat exhaustion, which can also make you more susceptible to cuts and bruises. Take extra care until you are feeling better or are able to get medical attention.
It’s important to plan ahead and be prepared, especially if you plan on being outdoors in the heat or exerting yourself for an extended period of time. Here are a few things you can do to help lower your risk of heat exhaustion and dehydration:
If you or a loved one is struggling with the symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, visit Coastal Urgent Care of Ruston right away for expert medical care and IV fluid hydration. We welcome walk-in appointments 7 days a week, Mon – Fri, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Sat – Sun, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.