Heat exhaustion

Head | General Practice | Heat exhaustion (Disease)


Exposure to abnormal or prolonged amounts of heat and humidity without relief or adequate fluid intake can cause various types of heat-related illness. Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are collectively known as heat-related illness. Heat cramps are the least serious of the three, but still can be very painful and alarming.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, dry mouth, excessive sweating, excessive thirst, fever, faintness, headache, muscle aches, nausea, palpitations, vomiting, and weakness and fatigue.

Causes and Risk factors

Heat exhaustion is more severe than heat cramps and results from a loss of water and salt in the body. It occurs in conditions of extreme heat and excessive sweating without adequate fluid and salt replacement. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body is unable to cool itself properly and, if left untreated, can progress to heat stroke.

A person at risk for heat exhaustion should watch their urine output to monitor their hydration status . If the body is dehydrated, the kidneys will hold onto water, and make concentrated, strong smelling urine. If enough water is present, the urine will turn clear.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Therapy for heat exhaustion depends on the severity of the symptoms. Treatment includes: active cooling, intravenous fluids, correction of any body chemistry abnormalities, and hospitalization if necessary. ...