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First Aid & Emergencies

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Heat-Related Illnesses - Home Treatment

Home treatment for mild heat-related illness continued...

If your child is dehydrated, see the topic Dehydration for information about home treatment.

Heat syncope (fainting) usually does not last long and improves when you lie down to a flat position. It is helpful to lie in a cooler environment.

Heat edema (swelling) is treated with rest and by elevating your legs. If you are standing for a long time in a hot environment, flex your leg muscles often so that blood does not pool in your lower legs, which can lead to heat edema and fainting.

Heat cramps are treated by getting out of the heat and replacing fluids and salt. If you are not on a salt- (sodium-) restricted diet, eat a little more salt, such as a few nuts or pretzels. Do not use salt tablets, because they are absorbed slowly and can cause irritation of the stomach. Try massaging and stretching your cramped muscles.

Heat rash (prickly heat camera.gif) usually gets better and goes away without treatment. Antihistamines may help if you are having problems with itching. Keep areas clean and dry to help prevent a skin infection. Do not use baby powder while a rash is present. The powder can build up in the skin creases and hold moisture, allowing the growth of bacteria that may cause infection. Dress in as few clothes as possible during hot weather. Keep your home, especially sleeping areas, cool.

Symptoms to watch for during home treatment

Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:

  • A seizure occurs.
  • Decreased mental alertness develops.
  • Shortness of breath develops.
  • Symptoms become more severe or frequent.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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