What Is Heat Exhaustion? Safety

What Is Heat Exhaustion?

Heat exhaustion:When sweating excessively in high heat, the amount of salt, or electrolytes, in the body can become depleted. This is known as heat exhaustion. Although not immediately life-threatening, heat exhaustion can become serious if left untreated. The CDC lists the following as symptoms of heat exhaustion:

  • Headache and nausea
  • Lethargy
  • Extreme thirst
  • Irritability
  • Heavy sweating
  • Fast heart rate

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.

Contact a doctor if signs or symptoms worsen or if they don’t improve within one hour.