Heat exhaustion

Treatment for heat exhaustion

Fact Checked

Heat exhaustion is a condition where there is heavy sweating and a rapid pulse which cause the body to overheat. Heat exhaustion can be caused by exposure to high temperatures especially combined with high humidity and strenuous physical activity. Without proper treatment, the condition can result to heatstroke which is a dangerous heat-related condition.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion

  • Weak and rapid pulse
  • Cool and moist skin with goose bumps when in the heat
  • Faintness
  • Dizziness
  • Heavy sweating
  • Low blood pressure when standing
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps


  • Dehydration which lessens the ability of the body to sweat and maintain normal temperature of the body.
  • Excessive use of alcohol which can affect the ability of the body in regulating temperature.
  • Overdressing, especially wearing clothes that prevents sweat to evaporate easily.


  • Transfer the person to a cool area.
    Heat exhaustion
    Heat exhaustion can be caused by exposure to high temperatures especially combined with high humidity and strenuous physical activity.

    If an air-conditioned space is not accessible, fan the affected person.

  • Apply cool compresses on the body or a cool sponge bath.
  • Give the person cool, non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated beverages to prevent dehydration.
  • Get plenty of rest and avoid performing physical activities for the rest of the day.
  • Take the prescribed pain medication such as acetaminophen if suffering from a mild headache.

Seek medical help immediately if the symptoms worsen or last for more than an hour, person is vomiting or nauseate, has high and weak pulse rate and shallow breathing especially with high or low blood pressure, person is disoriented, unconscious and has fever, dry and warm skin, high or low blood pressure and hyperventilating.


  • Avoid excessive exposure under the sun. If going oudoors, wear a wide-brimmed hat or use an umbrella to protect the body from the sun. Apply suncreen to any exposed skin. With sunburn, it will lessen the ability of the body to eliminate heat.
  • Wear a loosefitting, light-colored clothing. Dark or tight fitting clothes retain heat in the body and do not cool the body properly because it prevents evaporation of sweat.
  • Stay in an air-conditioned room for just a few hours to prevent heat exhaustion.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to make the body sweat and maintain normal temperature of the body. Just remember to avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • Avoid staying in hot areas. Avoid leaving children or anyone else in a parked car under hot weather for long periods of time to prevent heat exhaustion.
  • If performing exercises under hot weather, take a rest frequently in a cool area, and replenish lost fluids during that time to help the body regulate the temperature.

Disclaimer / More Information

The material posted on this page on heat exhaustion is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage heat exhaustion by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.

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