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is when your body overheats. Normally, the body has a cooling system that is controlled by the brain. The cooling system adjusts to hot conditions and lowers your body temperature by producing sweat. With heat exhaustion, the body's cooling system is not working well and results in an increased body temperature.
Common symptoms include the following:
- Heavy sweating
- Feeling faint, dizzy, or weak
- A headache or tiredness
- Fast breathing or a fast heartbeat
- Muscle cramps
- Nausea or vomiting
Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:
- You have trouble breathing.
- You are confused or cannot think clearly.
- You cannot move your arms and legs.
Seek care immediately if:
- You cannot stop vomiting.
Call your doctor if:
- Your signs and symptoms do not improve with treatment.
- You have numbness or prickling feeling in your arms or legs.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
First aid for heat exhaustion:
- Move to an air-conditioned location or a cool, shady area and lie down. Raise your legs above the level of your heart.
- Drink cold liquid, such as water or a sports drink.
- Mist yourself with cold water or pour cool water on your head, neck, and clothes.
- Loosen or remove as many clothes as possible.
- If you do not feel better in 1 hour, go to the emergency department.
Prevent heat exhaustion:
- Wear lightweight, loose, and light-colored clothing.
- Protect your head and neck with a hat or umbrella when you are outdoors.
- Drink lots of water or sports drinks. Avoid alcohol.
- Eat salty foods, such as salted crackers, and salted pretzels.
- Limit your activities during the hottest time of the day. This is usually late morning through early afternoon.
- Use air conditioners or fans and have enough proper ventilation. If there is no air conditioning available, keep your windows open so air can circulate.
Follow up with your doctor as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Learn more about Heat Exhaustion (Ambulatory Care)
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