font size

Heat Exhaustion (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

What are the symptoms of heat exhaustion?

Individuals with heat exhaustion tend to have symptoms such as:

  • Profuse sweating
  • Weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting.

As dehydration increases from the loss of body water, lightheadedness may occur and fainting (syncope) may occur especially, if the affected individual stands up quickly (due to orthostatic hypotension). A low grade fever also may be present.

When should an individual seek medical care for heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion usually can be treated at home as long as the affected individual can maintain proper hydration and find a cool place to rest. Water, electrolyte replacement solutions or sport drinks are appropriate to consume. If nausea and vomiting prevent rehydration, the individual should seek medical attention, and may need IV fluids for rehydration.

Muscles cramps can be severe and if stretching and rehydration cannot relieve recurrent cramps, medical care also may be necessary.

It is important to recognize that if the person stops sweating, becomes confused, or has a seizure, heat stroke, a life-threatening condition, may be developing. Emergency medical services should be activated immediately (call 911 if available). The affected individual should be moved to a cooler place, have their clothing removed, and attempts should be made to cool the body with cold compresses, and oscillating fans.

How is heat exhaustion diagnosed?

Diagnosis of heat exhaustion is made by circumstantial evidence:

  1. History (exercising or working in a hot environment, living in a hot apartment with no air-conditioning)
  2. Symptoms (excess sweating, headache, weakness, nausea and vomiting)
  3. Physical examination (signs of dehydration)

Laboratory tests are not routinely performed unless the health care professional is concerned about electrolyte imbalance or significant dehydration and kidney failure.

However, it is important for the health care professional to consider other diagnoses, since there are many infectious illnesses that accompany a fever, weakness, nausea and vomiting. This is especially the case in the elderly and very young. In these groups, heat exhaustion may be a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that other more serious illnesses should be considered before settling on heat as the cause of the problem. Careful history and physical examination may be all that is needed.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/22/2013

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Heat Exhaustion - Symptoms Question: What were the symptoms of your heat exhaustion?
Heat Exhaustion - Treatments Question: What treatment did you receive for your heat exhaustion?
Heat Exhaustion - Causes Question: If you or someone you know has experienced heat exhaustion, what do you feel was the cause?
Heat Exhaustion - Medical Care Question: If you experienced heat exhaustion, what type of medical care did you receive? What were your main symptoms?
Heat Exhaustion - Complications Question: What were the complications of heat exhaustion experienced by you or someone you know?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/heat_exhaustion/article.htm

Women's Health

Find out what women really need.

advertisement
advertisement
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations