The average body temperature is approximately 98.6°F. When your body undergoes strenuous exercise or overexertion in hot, humid weather, it sometimes isn't able to efficiently cool itself to retain a normal temperature. Dehydration, alcohol use, and overdressing also can prevent the body from cooling itself correctly.

Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

Stage 1: Heat Cramps

  • Heavy Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Thirst
  • Muscle Cramps

Stage 2: Heavy Exhaustion

  • Heavy Sweating
  • Faintness
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Nausea
  • Low Fever
  • Headache
  • Dark Urine
When your body undergoes overexertion in hot weather, it sometimes isn't able to efficiently cool itself to retain a normal temperature. 

Risk Factors for Heat Exhaustion

In addition to athletes, there are a few other factors that increase the risk of heat exhaustion:

  • Age - Young children and adults over age 65 are often unable to adjust to changes in temperature as quickly as older children and adults, making them vulnerable to heat exhaustion.
  • Medications - Some types of medications such as Diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers, stimulants, heart, and blood pressure medications and medications for psychiatric conditions pose an increased risk for heat exhaustion.
  • Health conditions - Individuals with certain medical conditions such as heart, lung, or kidney disease, obesity or underweight, high blood pressure, diabetes, mental illness, sickle cell trait, alcoholism, or sunburn are also at increased risk.

How to Treat Heat Exhaustion

If heat cramps lead to heat exhaustion:

  • Rest in a cooler location.
  • Drink cool fluids.
  • Apply cool water to the skin.
  • Rest with legs elevated above heart level.

Visit MedExpress if signs or symptoms do not rapidly improve. Our medical team will be able to treat your heat exhaustion to help your body cool down properly. Our centers also have IV fluids available to help replenish essential electrolytes that are lost through excessive sweating. 

Heatstroke

Untreated heat exhaustion can progress to heatstroke or a temperature of 103°F or higher, a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. Heatstroke can cause permanent damage to the brain and other organs. If heatstroke is suspected, call 911 immediately.