Can You Spot the Difference Between Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke?


In the summer heat, it’s important to know the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion usually results in weakness, headaches and even nausea or muscle cramps. To treat, move the patient to a cool area and have them ingest plenty of fluids, as well as electrolytes if available. You should also apply any available cooling methods, such as a water-soaked towel.

Heat exhaustion is definitely a concern, but heat stroke can be fatal and should be treated as an immediate medical emergency. Signs of heat stroke include a throbbing headache, lack of sweat and skin that is red, hot and dry.

Patients experiencing heat stroke may become unconscious and it’s vital to get them cooled as soon as possible. If you believe someone may have heat stroke, call 911 immediately and begin treating them while waiting. Move them to a cool area and fan air over their body while wetting the skin with water. Particularly wet and fan the areas of the groin, armpits, neck and back, as these areas have a large amount of blood vessels close to the skin.

Stay hydrated this summer and always be on the lookout for heat injuries.

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