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Summer First Aid - How To Treat Heat Exhaustion


As temperatures rise during the scorching summer months, our bodies can become susceptible to heat-related illnesses, including heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that occurs when the body becomes dehydrated and struggles to regulate its internal temperature. While it is not as severe as heatstroke, prompt treatment is crucial to prevent the condition from progressing.


Understanding Heat Exhaustion: Heat exhaustion is typically caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures, coupled with inadequate fluid intake and insufficient electrolyte replacement. It can also result from strenuous physical activity in hot and humid environments, leading to excessive sweating and dehydration. Heat exhaustion should be taken seriously, as if left untreated, it can progress to heatstroke, a life-threatening condition.


Signs And Symptoms Of Heat Exhaustion

Signs of Heat Exhaustion

Signs of Heat Stroke

Pale sweaty skin

Dizziness, fainting and restlessness

Nausea, loss of appetite & vomiting

​Confusion

Fast breathing & a weak pulse

Throbbing headache

Cramps in the arms, legs or abdomen

Nausea & Vomiting

Casualty says they feel cold, but are hot to the touch

​Flushes, hot dry skin (no sweating)

* Alcohol in the sun can be dangerous as it may disguise dangerous symptoms of heat exhaustion you are experiencing, ensure you drink plenty of water or non-alcoholic drinks.


How To Treat Heat Exhaustion

  1. Move to a cool place: Get out of the heat and into a shaded or air-conditioned area. If indoors, turn on fans or air conditioning to facilitate cooling.

  2. Loosen Clothing: Remove excessive or constricting clothing to allow the body to cool down more efficiently.

  3. Hydrate : Drink plenty of cool fluids to rehydrate the body. Water is the best choice, but sports drinks can also be beneficial to replenish electrolytes lost through sweating. Sip the fluids slowly and avoid alcohol or caffeine.

  4. Cool the body: Apply cool, wet towels or use a spray bottle to mist the person's skin with cool water. Fan the skin to enhance the evaporation process and aid in cooling the body.

  5. Seek medical advice, even if the casualty recovers quickly



How To Prevent Heat Exhaustion

Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to heat-related illnesses. Follow these preventive measures to reduce the risk of heat exhaustion:

  1. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, even if you don't feel thirsty. Aim to consume water, sports drinks, or other hydrating beverages regularly.

  2. Dress appropriately: Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, and light-colored clothing to allow air circulation and reflect sunlight. Don't forget to wear a wide-brimmed hat and use sunscreen for added protection.

  3. Plan activities wisely: Schedule outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day, such as early mornings or evenings. Take frequent breaks in shaded areas and avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.



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