Michigan Association of Health Plans

Know the signs of heat exhaustion to prevent an emergency

This story is from McLaren Health Care. Read more here

Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency that starts as heat exhaustion.

“When temperatures rise, it is important to stay well hydrated, rest in a cool or shaded place, wear light and loose clothing, and avoid alcohol,” said Christine Perry, DO, clinical director of the emergency department at McLaren Greater Lansing.

How to recognize and treat heat exhaustion

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Headache
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Loss of appetite or feeling sick
  • Excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin
  • Fast breathing or pule
  • High temperature
  • Excessive thirst

If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion, here’s what to do:

  • Move them to a cool place
  • Get them to lie down and raise their feet
  • Have them drink water
  • Cool their skin with water or ice
  • Stay with them for 30 minutes to make sure their symptoms decrease

“Watch out for people who have a hard time regulating their body temperature, such as kids and older adults,” said Dr. Perry. “Because both kids and older adults have thinner skin and don’t sweat as well, it’s important to be cognizant of the risk and to check on our vulnerable neighbors and friends during the warm season.”

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