Heat exhaustion is caused by overexposure to high temperatures or overactivity in hot weather. Although heat exhaustion usually occurs outdoors, a person can be overcome in a hot, poorly ventilated room or workplace.
Unchecked, heat exhaustion can lead to heatstroke-often called sunstroke-a life-threatening situation.
A heat-exhaustion victim sweats, losing fluids and electrolytes, but evaporation of the sweat prevents body-temperature rise. Other signs include pale and clammy skin, weakness, nausea, and perhaps headache or muscle cramps. The victim feels extreme fatigue and, if exposure continues, may collapse or faint.
In heatstroke, sweating is absent or very slight, pulse is rapid, the skin flushed, and the victim is lethargic or unconscious or may have a seizure. The temperature shoots above 104°F Treatment
Call for medical help if heatstroke symptoms are present or if the person does not respond quickly when treated as follows. Move him to a cool, shady, preferably breezy place or to an air-conditioned room. Lay him down, loosen his clothing, and place cold, wet towels on the forehead and the back of the neck. Cramps will be alleviated if the person drinks cool, lightly salted water (1 teaspoon of salt per quart) or salted fruit drinks, such as those made for athletes. Give him a small amount at frequent intervals -half a glass every 5 minutes.
For heatstroke, in addition undress the victim; wrap him in a wet sheet. Place ice in the groin area and armpits and on the chest. Blow air on his body with your hand or a fan. When temperature drops to 101’F, cover him with a dry sheet; resume treatment if body temperature rises again. Give salted water as described.