How to Identify Heat Exhaustion Before It Becomes a Heat Stroke

Heat exhaustion is more than just fatigue. It’s a serious condition that could very easily lead to heat stroke. Fortunately, if you know what to look for, you can identify heat exhaustion before it becomes a heat stroke. If you know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion, you will likely be able to take action before medical attention is needed.

Heat Exhaustion Symptoms

If you’re in a survival situation, there’s a good chance that you may need to be up and moving during the hottest part of a summer day. Watch your family and anyone else who’s traveling or working with you for these symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Fainting
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pale skin
  • Cool, clammy skin
  • Profuse sweating
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal or muscle cramps
  • Rapid heart rate

As you look out for these signs and symptoms, you should also be aware of how much water everyone is drinking and whether or not they’re getting enough electrolytes. Salt depletion can make it impossible to stay hydrated. So, if you notice someone who isn’t drinking any water, you should check on them and get them to start hydrating. Likewise, if you see someone drinking water a lot of water and sweating profusely, but they can’t seem to slake their thirst, it’s likely that they’re salt depleted and need electrolytes to rehydrate.

Treating Heat Exhaustion

If you catch heat exhaustion early, treatment is fairly simple. Get the patient to drink lots of fluids (no alcohol or caffeine). Get them to a sheltered, shady place and pour cool water over their skin (a cool sponge bath can help, as well). Fan them and apply other cooling methods when possible. Let them rest, and don’t push them until symptoms subside.


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