How to Prevent Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Summer is the time of year when everyone wants enjoy spending time in the outdoors. Summer is also the time of year when the most heat related emergencies, like heat exhaustion and heat stroke, occur. We recommend being aware of your body’s temperature and taking the preventative steps listed below.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is caused by the failure of your body to cool itself in hot weather. This can be caused by dehydration and not wearing the proper clothing for the heat. The main symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy perspiration, dizziness, nausea, headache, dark colored urine and feeling weak. You need to move into an air conditioned building, or at the very least a shaded area, if you have these symptoms. Drink plenty of fluids and take a cool shower or bath if you can. Heat exhaustion could lead to heat stroke if not treated properly.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is when your body temperature reaches 104 degrees or higher after exposure to hot weather or extremely strenuous exercise. Your heart rate and breathing may be fast, and your skin may be flushed. You may also have a headache. Like heat exhaustion, it is very important to go into an air conditioned building, and cool yourself down with a cool bath or cooling blanket. Heat stroke is more severe than heat exhaustion and we recommend calling 911 and being transported to a hospital if you have heat stroke.


Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are ailments no one ever wants to experience. Here are some ways we suggest preventing heat related illnesses:

  • Drink plenty of water and other fluids daily.
  • Wear loose fitting and lightweight clothes when outdoors.
  • Stay inside an air conditioned room when you can.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Don’t exercise when temperatures are too hot.

Have questions about preventing heat related illnesses? Feel free to contact Saint Francis Healthcare’s Cardiovascular Services with your inquiries.

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