Heat Exhaustion vs. Heat Stroke: Do You Know the Difference?

Heat Exhaustion vs. Heat Stroke
One of the most well-known risks of venturing out in the summer is the effect heat can have on the body. Primarily, heat causes two kinds of injury – heat exhaustion and heat stroke – but many people do not know the difference. This post will outline the effects heat exhaustion and heat stroke have on the body and how dehydration and failure to rest can lead to both. In addition, we will describe preventive measures such as proper hydration, resting in shaded areas, and wearing light, loose clothing.

Generally, heat stroke is more serious than heat exhaustion.

Heat Exhaustion Symptoms

  • General weakness
  • Increased heavy sweating
  • Weak but fast pulse or heart rate
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Risk of fainting
  • Cold, clammy skin

Heat Stroke Symptoms

  • Elevated body temperature above 103 degrees F
  • Rapid and strong pulse or heart rate
  • Loss or change of consciousness
  • Hot, dry, red or moist skin

Certain things can aggravate heat-related illness, such as dehydration, wearing tight or heavy clothing, and drinking alcohol.

Tips to Avoid Heat-Related Illness

The CDC gives us these helpful tips to avoid heat stroke and heat exhaustion this summer.

  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Stay in an air-conditioned space as much as possible. If you do not have AC in your home, walk around a shopping mall or visit the public library, as just even a few hours spent in air conditioning can aid your body in staying cooler when you do eventually venture back out into the heat.
  • Limit outdoor activities to when it is coolest outside, such as first thing in the morning or in the evening. Rest often in shady areas to give your body a chance to recover.
  • Avoid exercising outside during the heat. If you do have to work or exercise in the heat outdoors, start slowly and pick up the pace on a gradual basis. If you become weak, faint, lightheaded or confused, stop all activity and go indoors.
  • Wear sunscreen of at least SPF 15, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses when going outdoors.

Contact Premier Urgent Care Chicago

Premier Urgent Care is your source for attentive, high-quality healthcare throughout the South Side Chicago area. Our urgent care services are quick, convenient, and compassionate, thanks to a highly-trained staff and board-certified physicians and physician assistants. If you have a healthcare emergency, from heat stroke and heat exhaustion to anything else, call us at 773-891-2890.

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