Heat Exhaustion

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Heat Exhaustion:


In hot weather older people, babies and young children are at greater risk of heat exhaustion, which left untreated, can result in heatstroke. This can be brought about by the working or exercising in hot conditions. Heat exhaustion will normally occur when the body’s temperature rises above 38c. If not recognized and treated this can lead to Heat Stroke (see under heat stroke).


Heat exhaustion is a collection of symptoms brought on as the body struggles to control its temperature. The body uses several mechanisms to cool itself down including sending more blood to the skin and by sweating. Salts and water are lost during sweating; if too much is lost then the symptoms of heat exhaustion develop.

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Excessive sweating.
  • Headache, dizziness.
  • Nausea & vomiting .
  • Tiredness.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Patient may say they feel cold, BUT are hot to touch.


Heat Stroke is a medical emergency so it is important to prevent HEAT EXHAUSTION developing to heat stroke:

  • Take patient to a cool area (an air conditioned room is ideal).
  • Remove thier clothing and lie them down.
  • But them in a cool shower or bath, soak feet in bucket of water.
  • Give them plenty of water. Oral rehydration or isotonic drinks (sports drinks) are best as they also replace salt.
  • If patient level of response changes or symptoms deteriorate (AVPU) place them in the recovery position.
  • Dial 999.



  • Remember certain recreational drugs such as Ecstasy create more physical activity in people and therefore generates more heat.


We hope you find this article useful. This is one in an alphabetical series of articles addressing various symptoms and their first aid treatments. If you would like more information on related resuscitation and first aid training, please get in touch.


You might also be interested in our blog. One of our more popular articles is about quality or quantity when it comes to first aid training.



First Response. Training for life. Training to save a life.

Read 36490 times Last modified on Wednesday, 29 January 2014
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Clive Haddrell Cert Ed LIQA MSET

NHS Paramedic Tutor, NHS Ambulance Emergency Driving Tutor, FAETC 1&2, Cert/Ed, D32, D33, LIQA. Manual Handling Tutor (RoSPA) and Member of the Society for Education and Training. I have over thirty years experience with the former Avon Ambulance Service NHS Trust, and recently with Great Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust. My experience includes the role of paramedic tutor, rapid response motorcycle paramedic. For the last 25years paramedic advisor to the well-known BBC television program "Casualty".

More in this category: « Heat Stroke Heart Attack »

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