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.
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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
Canadian Red Cross
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
Last Updated: 3/1/2021