Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

First Aid & Emergencies

Font Size

Heat-Related Illnesses - Topic Overview

Other things that may increase your risk of a heat-related illness include:

  • Age. Babies do not lose heat quickly and they do not sweat effectively. Older adults do not sweat easily and usually have other health conditions that affect their ability to lose heat.
  • Obesity. People who are overweight have decreased blood flow to the skin, hold heat in because of the insulating layer of fat tissue, and have a greater body mass to cool.
  • Heat waves. People who live in cities are especially vulnerable to illness during a heat wave because heat is trapped by tall buildings and air pollutants, especially if there is a high level of humidity.
  • Chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart failure, and cancer. These conditions change the way the body gets rid of heat.
  • Travel to wilderness areas or foreign countries with high outdoor temperatures and humidity. When you go to a different climate, your body must get used to the differences (acclimate) to keep your body temperature in a normal range.

Most heat-related illnesses can be prevented by keeping the body cool and by avoiding dehydration in hot environments. Home treatment is usually all that is needed to treat mild heat-related illnesses. Heat exhaustion and heatstroke need immediate medical treatment.

Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.

1|2
1|2

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 01, 2011
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.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Antibiotic on hand
Slideshow
3d scan of fractured skull
Slideshow
 
Father putting ointment on boy's face
Slideshow
Person taking food from oven
Q&A
 
sniffling child
Slideshow
wound care true or false
Slideshow
 
caring for wounds
Slideshow
Harvest mite
Slideshow
 

WebMD the app

Get first aid information. Whenever. Wherever... with your iPhone, iPad or Android.

Find Out More