Warning Signs of Heat Exhaustion & Prior Precautions

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the two main heat related conditions. While heat stroke is a serious condition which needs prompt medical attention, heat exhaustion is less severe than heat stroke and can be termed as the precursor to heat stroke.


What is heat exhaustion?

Heat exhaustion happens if the body gets overheated internally but not able to cool off quickly and sufficiently. When the body overheats, for example, during athletics and outdoor sports or physical exercises like workouts, gardening, etc. it raises the body temperature. But if water or other fluids are not taken in timely and the extra heat is not passed out of the body sufficiently either through natural cooling or artificial cooling it leads to heat exhaustion. People who are overweight, are drinking alcohol, or are patient of cardiovascular disease, or are pregnant pose greater risk of heat exhaustion.

Warning signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion

There are two types of heat exhaustion:

1. Water depletion - The symptoms are

2. Salt depletion - The symptoms are

Sometimes while working outside in the heat your skin may suddenly become cold and clammy or you may start sweating excessively or you may have headache or feel nauseous. These may be the symptoms of heat exhaustion and you should then stop your work, take rest under a shade, drink some water or fluid mixed with body salts.

If you ignore the symptoms and continue to work in the heat it may eventually lead to serious and emergency condition called heat stroke. Heat stroke, if not treated promptly, can potentially damage brain or other organs or even cost you your life.

Awareness and precaution to keep off heat exhaustion.

  • ● It pays to be careful when you go out in the sun.
  • ● Wearing light, loose-fitting, cotton clothings help proper heat radiation.
  • ● Keeping body hydrated by drinking plentiful water and other fluids replenish the loss of body water and electrolytes.
  • ● Don’t wait till you get thirsty. Drink fluids every 20 minutes interval.
  • ● Drinking alcohol should be avoided because it can raise the risk of overheating. Also it will be wise to avoid taking to road during the sunburning day time.

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