Summer Safety Tips, Heatstroke, Sunstroke, Heat Exhaustion, First Aid

Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion – The Facts

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Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion

In this post, we are continuing with our current summer safety theme. We are going to look at heat stroke, sunstroke and heat exhaustion. These terms are often used to describe the same thing. But there is a difference. Sunstroke, or heat stroke, is far more serious than heat exhaustion.

Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion – What are They

Heat exhaustion is a condition that occurs when your body gets too hot. Left untreated, heat exhaustion can progress to the, more serious, heat stroke.

Heat stroke occurs when your internal body temperature rises above 103°F.

Heat stroke is a reason to call 911. It can cause organ failure and brain damage. It can put a person into shock. And, in severe cases, heat stroke can be fatal.

What Causes Heat Exhaustion and Heat stroke?

Our bodies regulate our body temperature. We have functions like sweating to cool us down. And, we have shivering that helps to warm us up.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke occur when the body can’t keep the body cool enough. If the body can’t keep itself cool, we experience heat related illnesses.

The main causes of heat stroke and heat exhaustion are too much exercise and hot weather. When the two occur together, heat stroke and heat exhaustion can occur. The problem can be worse on hot, humid days. On hot and humid days, the body’s sweating mechanism doesn’t work as well.

What Are the Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion?

Summer Safety Tips, Heatstroke, Sunstroke, Heat Exhaustion, First Aid

As mentioned above, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are often confused. You can treat heat exhaustion by cooling down the body and resting. Heat stroke is more serious. It may require urgent medical attention.

First,  the symptoms of heat exhaustion:

What are the Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion?
  • Sweating heavily
  • Muscle cramps
  • Feeling weak and confused.
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Pale skin or cold and clammy skin
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Headache
  • Dark colored urine, which indicates dehydration
What are the Symptoms of Heat Stroke?

The symptoms of heat stroke may include the same symptoms as heat exhaustion. The symptoms that tell you that the condition may have progressed to heat stroke are:

  • Body temperature of 103°F or higher
  • No sweating, even if the patient feels very hot
  • Flushed complexion or reddening of the skin
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Seizures
  • Fainting
When Should You Call 911?

Getting into the shade and drinking some water will bring the body temperature back down. As will resting.

If a person’s temperature is above 103°Fh you should call 911. Also, if they are showing any symptoms of seizures or delirium, you should call 911.

How to Treat Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

The ways to treat heat exhaustion and heat stroke are as follows:

  • Get the person to a cool place or into the shade straight away
  • Lay the patient down with their legs slightly elevated.
  • Apply cold towels to the body, or have the person take a cool shower or bath
  • Fan the person to cool them down
  • Give the person cool water to drink. They should sip the drink, though, not guzzle it down.


If the person’s temperature remains above 103°Fh for more than fifteen minutes, you should call 911. You should also call 911 if the person faints, has seizures, or goes into shock.

If the patient’s heart stops beating, or they stop breathing, then you should administer CPR until the emergency services arrive.

How Can You Avoid Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke?

Summer Safety Tips, Heatstroke, Sunstroke, Heat Exhaustion, First Aid

There are lots of things that you can do to prevent heat related illnesses. The very young and the elderly are more prone to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. People who are obese or have heart conditions are also more susceptible. And, if you work outside in the sun, you are more at risk.

There are some medications can put you at a greater risk of heat related illness. These include antibiotics, antihistamines, and laxatives. If you are taking any medications and you are planning to be out in the sun, check with your doctor first.

The simple way to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke is to not spend too much time outside when the sun is at its hottest. If you do have to go on a very hot day, try not to exert yourself.

Here are some precautions that you can take to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

  • Wear a hat or carry a sun umbrella
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol
  • Restrict physical activity during the hottest times of the day
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light colored clothing
  • Rest in the shade if you feel you need to


It is never our intention to frighten our readers. But heat stroke is a very real danger to everyone in the summer. Especially for children and the elderly. The more we all understand the dangers that face us, the better prepared we will all be to avoid them.

We will be publishing more summer safety tips soon. If you would like to receive updates from us, please subscribe to our mailing list.

If you found our tips and advice on heat stroke and heat exhaustion helpful, please share it with your friends.

Many thanks for visiting Best Panic Alarm. We do hope you come back again soon. In the meantime, have a fantastic summer this year, and, stay safe.