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Heat Exhaustion (cont.)

How Can I Prevent Heat Exhaustion?

Prevention of heat exhaustion is accomplished by taking reasonable precautions. The precautions are as follows:

  • Avoid hot environments when possible (do not sit in a closed vehicle in the summer or do heavy physical work in hot areas without planned cool-down periods).
  • Avoid sunburns.
  • Wear light colored clothing and light-weight clothing that does not fight tightly.
  • Drink a lot of fluids (if your urine frequency slows or your urine seems more concentrated, you need to drink more fluids), and avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • Give your body time (at least a few days) to adjust to a hot climate before doing strenuous activities.
  • Check with your pharmacist or doctor to see if your medications may make you more susceptible to heat-related problems (for example, diuretics, sedatives, and stimulants).
  • Infants, children, the elderly, and pregnant women are all more susceptible to heat exhaustion than other individuals because their bodies do not cool as efficiently. Infants, children and some elderly are dependent on others to manage their environment and to take precautionary measures to avoid heat exhaustion.
  • Pregnant women develop more heat intolerance as the pregnancy progresses.
  • Dogs and other animals may also be dependent on others to provide adequate precautions (shade, fluids) in order to avoid heat exhaustion.

What Is the Prognosis for Heat Exhaustion?

If people are treated early and effectively, then the prognosis for heat exhaustion is almost always very good. However, if heat exhaustion is not detected and treated, then heat stroke may develop resulting in possible organ damage, seizures, coma and even death.

Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventative Medicine with Subspecialty in Occupational Medicine

REFERENCES:

Kidshealth.org. Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion Instruction Sheet.

Kidshealth.org. Heat Illness.

R. S. Helman, MD. et al. Heatstroke Differential Diagnoses. Medscape. May 2015
<http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/166320-differential>

University of Maryland Medical Center. Heat exhaustion.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/10/2016
Medical Editor:

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