Tag Archive: heat exhaustion

Heat Stroke

HEAT STROKE– is generally defined as the inability of the body to cool down after physical activity. Persons most at risk for heat stroke include the very young child, elderly, persons who work outdoors in the heat, and persons who exercise in the heat of the day. Obesity can increase the risk of heat stroke. Persons who take certain medications, such as diuretics, blood pressure pills and diet pills are also at higher risk.        

The symptoms of heat stroke include: chills, weakness, dizziness, extreme muscle fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, confusion and absence of sweating. If you feel these symptoms, stop activity immediately, drink water, rest in a cool place, and seek medical attention immediately if the symptoms persist. If left untreated, heat stroke can lead to damage to the kidneys, and other organs. True heat stroke is a medical emergency and treatment (call 911) should be sought immediately.        

 Take these precautions to help prevent heat stroke:

  • Drink at least 8-12 ounces of water- both before and after exercise. Take a full water bottle with you when you exercise, so it is readily available.
  • Drink electrolyte solution before and after extreme/strenuous exercise
  • Avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol
  • Wear light colored, loose clothing. Wear clothing appropriate to the temperature
  • Wear clothing with SPF >20
  • Stay out of direct sunlight if possible. If you feel yourself becoming too hot, rest in the shade and drink water
  • If possible, exercise early in the morning or late in the evening- avoid the heat of the afternoon.
  • Humidity decreases the ability of the body to cool down- exercise indoors during high humid times.
  • Do not participate in sports or exercise if you have a fever or upper respiratory infection
  • Remove helmet/padding and any excess clothing immediately if symptoms of heat exhaustion are noted
  • NEVER leave a child or pet in a hot car for any length of time– this can be life-threatening






The temperature in Denver broke several records in June this year.  This is a sure sign that summer has arrived. If you are among the millions of persons who spend time outdoors during the summer, you need to be aware of the dangers of excessive heat exposure. Persons who work out in the sun every day (such as roofers, construction workers, road repair and lawn maintenance) are at higher risk for heat related health problems.

Heat Exhaustion is an illness that is directly related to exposure to high temperatures for an extended period of time. Persons at higher risk for heat exhaustion are those who exercise in the sun or during the highest temperatures of the day, and those who work outdoors in the heat daily. The main reason people experience heat exhaustion is due to dehydration (not enough fluid).

The common symptoms of heat exhaustion include muscle cramps, dizziness, headache, light-headedness, nausea, sweating and fast heart beat.

Ways to avoid heat exhaustion include:

  • Drink plenty of water- try to drink at least 8 ounces every 30 minutes
  • Avoid alcohol or caffeinated beverages
  • Wear sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30- reapply frequently
  • Wear a wide brim hat
  • Rest under shade or in a cool place every few hours
  • Wear clothing with SPF rating >20
  • Wear light color, loose fitting clothing
  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activities during the peak heat hours of the day

If you feel you have the symptoms of heat exhaustion, you need to take the following measures immediately

  • Move out of the heat to a cool area- in a shady spot or indoors with a fan or air conditioner
  • Drink plenty of water- do not drink beverages with caffeine or alcohol
  • Remove clothing that is damp
  • Take a cool shower
  • Wrap a cool towel around your neck

If the symptoms do not improve within 30 minutes of taking the above cooling measures, seek medical attention. Heat Exhaustion that is untreated can lead to Heat Stroke— check for future blogs on heat stroke