Heat exhaustion: First aid
Heat exhaustion is one of the heat-related syndromes. Symptoms range in severity from mild heat cramps to heat exhaustion to potentially life-threatening heatstroke. Heat exhaustion can begin suddenly, usually after working or playing in the heat, perspiring heavily or being dehydrated.
Heat exhaustion signs and symptoms include:
- Faintness or dizziness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Heavy sweating often accompanied by cold, clammy skin
- Weak, rapid pulse
- Pale or flushed face
- Muscle cramps
- Weakness or fatigue
If you suspect heat exhaustion
Untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke, which is a life-threatening condition. If you suspect heat exhaustion, take these steps immediately:
- Move the person out of the heat and into a shady or air-conditioned place.
- Lay the person down and elevate the legs and feet slightly.
- Remove tight or heavy clothing.
- Have the person drink cool water or other nonalcoholic beverage without caffeine.
- Cool the person by spraying or sponging with cool water and fanning.
- Monitor the person carefully.
Call 911 or your local emergency number if the person's condition deteriorates, especially if he or she experiences:
- Fever of 104 F (40 C) or greater
Last updated: March 31st, 2015