Health Hint: Heat Exhaustion

Taking care of your health is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Baylor College of Medicine experts have plenty of tips to help you stay healthy. This month’s Health Hint focuses on the warning signs of heat exhaustion, and how to prevent it in the first place.

Heat exhaustion is characterized by sweating, light headedness, fainting, fast heart beat and a modest elevation of body temperature. Other symptoms include weakness, dehydration, problems with coordination, headache and even abdominal cramps, including nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. If you experience these symptoms, stop what you are doing, drink water and get to a cooler environment. If a person becomes confused and has an elevated body temperature greater than 104 F they should be taken to an emergency facility. While a quick reaction is good, prevention is better. Drink plenty of fluids, such as water. Sports drinks are also an option to replace electrolytes that are lost in sweat but should be supplemented with water as well. Being aware of your environment is also important. In humid temperatures you are more likely to suffer from heat exhaustion. Don’t forget to wear cool clothing and take breaks from the heat.”

Dr. Jeffrey Steinbauer, professor of family and community medicine