Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke Health (cont.)

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How is the diagnosis of heat exhaustion and heat stroke made?

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For a heat exposure emergency, the treating doctor needs important information:

  • Past medical history
  • Medicines the patient is currently taking (prescription and over-the-counter)
  • Symptoms the patient is experiencing

Blood tests to check for organ or muscle damage or an electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG) to check for heart damage may be indicated. No specific radiologic (imaging) tests are necessary.

What is the treatment for heat exhaustion and heat stroke?

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Home care for heat exhaustion only applies if it is a mild form of heat exhaustion. Moderate to severe heat exhaustion, and heat stroke require medical care immediately.

What home remedies or self care can I try for heat exhaustion or heat stroke?

Home care is appropriate only for mild forms of heat exhaustion. Heat stroke is a medical emergency, and an ambulance should be called immediately.

For mild cases of heat exhaustion

  • Stop physical activity.
  • Rest in a cool, shaded area.
  • Give cool fluids such as water or sports drinks for dehydration (that will replace the salt and electrolytes that have been lost). Salty snacks are appropriate as tolerated.
  • Loosen or remove clothing.
  • Apply cool water to skin.
  • Do not use an alcohol rub.
  • Do not give any beverages containing alcohol or caffeine.

Heat stroke (do not attempt to treat a case of heat stroke at home, but you can help while waiting for medical assistance to arrive).

  • Call 911 immediately.
  • Move the person to a cooler environment, or place him or her in a cool (not cold) bath of water (as long as the person is conscious and can be attended continuously).
  • Alternatively, moisten the skin with lukewarm water and use a fan to blow cool air across the skin.
  • Give cool beverages by mouth only if the person has a normal mental state and can tolerate it.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/16/2014

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Heat Exhaustion And Heat Stroke - Diagnosis Question: How did the doctor distinguish between heat exhaustion and heat stroke?
Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke - Treatment Question: What was the treatment for your heat exhaustion and heat stroke?