Heat exhaustion can occur when your body gets too warm, which can happen quickly if you exert yourself in hot weather. It can be serious, and can cause heat stroke. It’s important to recognize the symptoms of heat exhaustion and take steps to cool down and replenish body fluids before heat stroke sets in. Heat stroke can be deadly.
When experiencing symptoms of heat exhaustion, get out of the heat (if you can’t get into an air-conditioned room, find shade in the coolest place possible).
Sit in front of a fan or use cool compresses to cool down. It’s also important to rest. Drink plenty of fluids – but avoid alcohol and caffeine. Take a cool shower or bath if possible. If these cooling methods don’t relieve the symptoms of heat exhaustion after 15 minutes, seek emergency medical help. If untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke.
Following are some quick tips for avoiding heat exhaustion:
- Wear light-color, loose-fitting clothing – Dark or tight-fitting clothing holds in heat and makes your body warmer.
- Find someplace cool – Get into an air-conditioned room if possible; if not, find some shade. Being in a cooler place even for a short time can lower your risk of heat exhaustion.
- Drink lots of liquids, but no alcohol – Caffeine is also not recommended. Many sodas contain caffeine so, if possible, find a caffeine-free beverage. If a cold soda with caffeine is all you have, it’s better than nothing.
- Find out if any of your medications may make you more susceptible to heat exhaustion – Ask your doctor or pharmacists
- Take time to get used to the heat – Give your body time to adjust to the heat, especially before exercising or doing physical labor.