Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke
by Amy Scholten, MPH
Heat exhaustion is when the body overheats in hot temperatures. If not treated, it can lead to heat stroke. Heat stroke is more severe and can be life-threatening.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are caused when the body cannot cool itself. This can happen due to:
Heat exhaustion is more common in young children and older adults.
Things that raise the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke are:
Symptoms of heat exhaustion may be:
Symptoms of heat stroke may be:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.
Blood and urine tests may be done to test body fluids.
Heart activity may be measured. This can be done with an ECG.
Treatment for heat exhaustion includes:
Treatment for heat stroke includes:
To help reduce the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke:
American Red Cross
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/heat-exhaustion-heatstroke. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Heat-related illnesses. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/heat-related-illnesses. Accessed January 29, 2021.
O'Connor FG. Sports Medicine: Exertional Heat Illness. FP Essent. 2019;482:15-19.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Shawna Grubb, RN