Signs Of Heat Exhaustion & Heat Stroke

August 27, 2023

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are two incredibly dangerous conditions associated with hyperthermia, which occurs when a person's body temperature becomes quite elevated and produces or absorbs more heat than it dissipates. When the body reaches an internal temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or more and can't regulate or cool itself off efficiently, hyperthermia may occur. Both conditions are severe, but heat exhaustion usually occurs first and can lead to a heat stroke if it isn't taken care of promptly. When a person reaches the point of suffering from a heat stroke, the results can be fatal. Because of this, it's imperative to take care of heat exhaustion before it gets worse. Knowing the symptoms of heat exhaustion can help stop the condition before it's too late. Here are some symptoms of heat exhaustion (and heat stroke) you should not ignore.

Heat Cramps

Heat cramps are excruciating muscle cramps. When you do a lot of physical activity in the heat, you sweat out a lot of electrolytes, also known as sodium, from your body. This loss of electrolytes can bring on muscle spasms in muscles being used a lot. They can happen immediately or sometimes a few hours later. Muscle cramps can usually be relieved by drinking something with electrolytes in it. In a lot of cases, they go away with no lasting effects, but if they don't go away or are accompanied by any other symptoms of heat exhaustion, seek medical attention.

Continue reading to uncover information on another serious warning sign of heat exhaustion.

Dizziness Or Lightheadedness

Being overheated can cause blood pressure to suddenly drop too low, leading to a feeling of dizziness or lightheadedness. The reason this occurs is due to a chain reaction that results in the brain not having enough blood flowing to it. When you are too hot, your body dilates your blood vessels in a process called vasodilation and sends more blood to your skin, which is why individuals have a red, flush look when they are overheated. This then causes blood to pool into the legs, and since blood will be flowing downward instead of up, the brain doesn't get as much blood flowing to it resulting in the feeling of dizziness or lightheadedness. A person can also faint from the restricted blood flow.

Keep going to understand more signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heavy Sweating

It may seem that heavy sweating is normal when a person is in a hot environment, and in some cases it is. However, there are a few warning signs that indicate when it's not normal. If the sweating is accompanied by cold, clammy skin, it is a sign of heat exhaustion. Another indicator is if a person can't seem to stop sweating after ceasing physical activity. The key to determining if heavy sweating is related to heat exhaustion is to see if there are other signs of heat exhaustion along with the sweating.

Speaking of other signs to watch out for, keep reading for another warning of impending heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Tiredness And Weakness

Individuals who are suffering from heat exhaustion can often have feelings of being tired or weak. This is because the body has to work hard to cool itself off. All of this extra work the body does requires an increased heart rate. More calories are burned because the body's metabolic rate is also increased. It's as if the body is getting an intense workout just from being hot. All of this extra work the body does in the heat can quickly lead to being tired and weak.

Keep reading for more on what warning signs there are for heat exhaustion followed by heat stroke.

Rapid Pulse

Many individuals experience a faster heart rate when they are hot, which is due to the fact the heart is working so much harder than normal. The heart beats ten beats per minute faster for each degree your body temperature goes up. When a person reaches the point of heat exhaustion, they have an extremely rapid pulse, indicative of how hard the heart is working to circulate blood and cool the body off. This can be very dangerous, especially for seniors and those who have heart problems.

Continue reading to fully understand more symptoms of heat exhaustion.

Nausea Or Vomiting

If there is no other reason for nausea or vomiting, it can be a sign of severe heat exhaustion. When a person is overheated and sweating heavily, they lose a lot of essential vitamins and minerals. This imbalance can cause a person to feel very nauseous, which may or may not be accompanied by vomiting. Vomiting can make the situation worse since the body will be losing even more fluids, vitamins, and minerals. This can quickly lead to dehydration if the person hasn't already reached dehydration. Restoring electrolytes usually relieve nausea but if the person is vomiting, they probably need medical attention.

Signs of heat exhaustion can be mild or obvious. Either way, they shouldn't be taken lightly because heat exhaustion can quickly become a heat stroke. In fact, many of the symptoms of heat exhaustion are the same as those of heat stroke. The affected individual should move to a cool location, put on wet clothes, sip something with electrolytes or water, and rest.

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