Franciscan Health: Heat Exhaustion Or Heat Stroke?

Franciscan-Health-Heat-Exhaustion-Or-Heat-Stroke_01 With heat indices exceeding 100 degrees for the next week, it's important to take measures such as:

  • Stay hydrated.
  • Use air conditioning and fans, or going to cooling shelters.
  • Check in on seniors you know as age makes you more susceptible to heat-related illness.

Franciscan-Health-Heat-Exhaustion-Or-Heat-Stroke_02 How Your Body Reacts to High Temperatures
There are 3 main reactions to hot environmental temperatures and heat waves:

  • Heat cramps are the mildest form of heat illness and consist of painful muscle cramps and spasms that occur during or after intense exercise and sweating in high heat.
  • Heat exhaustion is more severe than heat cramps and results from a loss of water and salt in the body. It occurs in conditions of extreme heat and excessive sweating without adequate fluid and salt replacement. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body is unable to cool itself properly and, if left untreated, can progress to heat stroke.
  • Heat stroke, the most severe form of heat illness, occurs when the body's heat-regulating system is overwhelmed by excessive heat. It is a life-threatening emergency and requires immediate medical attention.

Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke?
The signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke are similar. Here's how to tell the difference and what to do for first aid.