Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke Health (cont.)

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What is the medical treatment for heat exhaustion and heat stroke?

Treatment is directed at cooling the patient in a controlled fashion while making sure the patient stays hydrated and that blood flow is normal.

Treatment of heat exhaustion

  • Because heat exhaustion generally develops gradually, a person will often be dehydrated. Usually they may be given something to drink. Ideally something that replaces lost fluid and electrolytes such as a cool sport beverage (with 6% or less glucose) should be used. IV fluid may be used if the person does not tolerate oral replacement (if he or she cannot keep anything down).
  • The patient should stay in a cool environment and avoid strenuous activity for several days.

Treatment of heat stroke

  • Treatment is aimed at reducing the patient's core temperature to normal as quickly as possible.
  • The doctor may use immersion, evaporative, or invasive cooling techniques.
  • In the evaporative technique, cold or ice packs may be placed in the armpits or groin. The skin is kept moist with cool fluid, and fans are directed to blow across the body.
  • An IV will be started and fluids are given rapidly.
  • The patient's urine output will be monitored.
  • Treatment will continue until the patient's body core temperature is 101.3 F to 102.2 F (38.5 C to 39 C) and then stopped to keep from making the patient too cold.
  • The patient most likely will be admitted to the hospital for further blood tests and observation.

Should I follow-up with my doctor after suffering heat exhaustion and heat stroke?

Before leaving the doctor's office or hospital, be sure the patient understands the instructions that are given by the physician, in particular the information regarding work and activity restrictions. Make sure the patient has a cool environment and plenty of suitable beverages (no alcohol or caffeine).

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?
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