Heat exhaustion

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Heat exhaustion is a severe form of heat illness. It is a medical emergency. Heat exhaustion is caused by the loss of water and electrolytes through sweating.


Common causes of heat exhaustion include:[1]

Especially during physical exertion, risk factors for heat exhaustion include:[1]

Signs and symptoms[edit]

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include nausea, dizziness, irritability, headache, thirst, weakness, high body temperature, excessive sweating, and decreased urine output.[3]


First aid[edit]

First aid for heat exhaustion includes:[3][2]

  • Moving the person to a cool place
  • Having the patient take off extra layers of clothes
  • Cooling the patient down by fanning them and putting wet towels on their body
  • Having them lie down and put their feet up if they are feeling dizzy
  • Having them drink water or sports drinks – but only if they are awake, not confused nor vomiting
  • Turning the person on their side if they are vomiting

Emergency medical treatment[edit]

If a person with heat exhaustion gets medical treatment, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) or doctors and/or nurses may also:[4]

  • Give them supplemental oxygen
  • Give them intravenous fluids and electrolytes if they are too confused to drink and/or are vomiting


If untreated, heat exhaustion may progress to heat stroke.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Heat Injury and Heat Exhaustion". www.orthoinfo.aaos.org. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. July 2009. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke". www.nhs.uk. National Health Service of the United Kingdom. June 11, 2015. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Jacklitsch, Brenda L. (June 29, 2011). "Summer Heat Can Be Deadly for Outdoor Workers". NIOSH: Workplace Safety and Health. Medscape and NIOSH.
  4. ^ Mistovich, Joseph J.; Karren, Keith J.; Hafen, Brent (July 18, 2013). Prehospital Emergency Care (10 ed.). Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0133369137.