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Heat Exhaustion

Heat Exhaustion Definition

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Heat exhaustion is a condition marked by exhaustion that occurs when the body overheats. The person may feel extremely fatigued and may halt all activity. It is an emergency condition that if left untreated, can sometimes lead to heat stroke, a potentially life-threatening condition. This article will focus only on heat exhaustion, which is on the spectrum of heat-related illnesses along with heat cramps (which is less severe) and heat stroke (which is more severe).

Heat Exhaustion Causes

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The main cause of heat exhaustion is failure of the body's cooling mechanism (mainly evaporative sweating) to maintain a normal core temperature, resulting in the body overheating. Causes that can contribute to heat exhaustion include strenuous work or exercise in a warm or hot environment, dehydration, alcohol intake, and wearing clothing that inhibits evaporative cooling of the body. The elderly and children under 5 years of age are at higher risk for developing heat exhaustion.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/26/2015
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