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First Aid & Emergencies

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Heat Exhaustion Treatment

Call 911 if the person:

  • Has a very high, weak pulse rate and rapid shallow breathing, especially when combined with high or low blood pressure
  • Is unconscious, disoriented, or has a high body temperature
  • Has warm, dry skin, elevated or lowered blood pressure, and is hyperventilating

  • Has a very high, weak pulse rate and rapid shallow breathing, especially when combined with high or low blood pressure
  • Is unconscious, disoriented, or has a high body temperature
  • Has warm, dry skin, elevated or lowered blood pressure, and is hyperventilating

1. Lower Body Temperature

  • Get the person out of the heat and into a cool environment.
  • If air-conditioning is not available, fan the person.
  • Spray the person with a garden hose, get him or her into a cool shower or bath, apply cool compresses, or give the person a cool sponge bath.

 

2. Rehydrate

  • Give cool, nonalcoholic and non-caffeinated beverages as long as the person is alert.

3. Rest

  • Have the person avoid physical activity for the rest of the day.
  • Give over-the-counter acetaminophen (Tylenol) if the person has a mild headache.

4. See a Health Care Provider

Untreated heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke. See a doctor that day if:

  • Symptoms get worse or last more than an hour
  • The person is nauseated or vomiting

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on November 27, 2015

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