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Heat Exhaustion

Understand the cause, symptoms and treatments of heat stroke symptoms

Heat exhaustion can occur when someone is exposed to hot temperatures and dehydrated. It is a heat-related illness that can affect anyone, but it arises during the summer months when temperatures are at their highest. In this blog, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatments of heat exhaustion and provide prevention tips. 


Heat exhaustion causes 

High temperatures and excessive sweating can lead to dehydration. This can happen if someone works or exercises under the hot weather without drinking enough water to replace the sweat lost. Other factors that can contribute to heat exhaustion include:  

  • High humidity: makes it harder for sweat to evaporate from the skin 
  • Overdressing: this can prevent sweat from evaporating and cooling the body 
  • Having a fever: which can increase the risk of dehydration.  
  • Certain medications: some medicines can dehydrate the body, such as diuretics and antihistamines 


Heat exhaustion symptoms 

Do pay attention to the signs of heat exhaustion. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. 


The symptoms of heat exhaustion can include: 

  • Heavy sweating 
  • Weakness or fatigue 
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness 
  • Headache 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Muscle cramps 
  • Cool, moist skin 
  • Rapid heartbeat 
  • Dark urine 


Heat exhaustion treatments 

How long does it take to recover from heat exhaustion? The recovery time for heat exhaustion can vary depending on the severity of the condition, the age and overall health of the affected person, and the effectiveness of the treatment provided. Mild cases of heat exhaustion can be resolved within a few hours to a few days with proper rest and hydration.  


In case of heat exhaustion, it is crucial to take prompt action to alleviate the situation. To prevent the condition from worsening, you can follow these steps:

  • Move to a cooler place, such as an air-conditioned room or a shaded outdoor area  
  • Remove excess clothing. Drink fluids, such as water or sports drinks, to help rehydrate the body 
  • Apply cool, wet clothes to the skin or taking a cool bath or shower can also help lower the body temperature 


If the symptoms do not improve within 30 minutes or the person loses consciousness, it is best to seek medical attention immediately. 


Tips for Prevention 

The best way to prevent heat exhaustion is to keep your body cool and hydrated in hot weather. Here are some tips to help you avoid heat exhaustion: 


  • Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, even if you don't feel thirsty. 
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can dehydrate the body. 
  • Wear loose, lightweight clothing that allows sweat to evaporate. 
  • Take frequent breaks in a cool, shaded area if you are working or exercising outdoors. 
  • Use fans or air conditioning to keep your home or office cool. 
  • Avoid spending time outside during the hottest part of the day, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. 


Heat exhaustion is a severe condition caused by exposure to high temperatures and dehydration. Recognizing the symptoms and acting immediately to prevent heat stroke is essential. Be mindful of the tips for prevention so you can stay cool and hydrated during the hot summer months and avoid the risk of heat exhaustion. 

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Information provided by:

Dr Namrata Arora headshot

Dr Namrata Arora

OT&P Healthcare

Please note that all medical articles featured on our website have been reviewed by qualified healthcare doctors. The articles are for general information only and are not medical opinions nor should the contents be used to replace the need for a personal consultation with a qualified medical professional on the reader's medical condition.