Health CareHealth ClinicHealth-Care-Clinic.Org
Diseases & Conditions InjuriesMedical Lab TestsDrugsHerbal Home RemediesHerbal MedicinesVitaminsFruitsVegetables

Home :: Heat Illness

Heat Illness

Athletes are especially prone to heat illness in the months of July and August. Heat illness is a life threatening, medical emergency that can be prevented if you follow some basic guidelines, and are aware of its signs and symptoms

Illness caused by prolonged exposure to hot temperatures, high humidity, slow air movement and increased physical activity. Long runs are responsible for most heat illness in athletes. Heatstroke represents failure of the body's heat-regulating mechanisms, leading to a heat buildup in the body. Heat exhaustion represents a loss of body fluids. There are three major types of heat illness, each with specific symptoms.

Heat exhaustion is more severe than heat cramps and results from a loss of water and salt in the body. It occurs in conditions of extreme heat and excessive sweating without adequate fluid and salt replacement. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body is unable to cool itself properly and, if left untreated, can progress to heat stroke.

Heat cramps are a type of heat injury that usually occurs after strenuous exercise or an outdoor activity.

Heat stroke, the most severe form of heat illness, occurs when the body's heat-regulating system is overwhelmed by excessive heat. It is a life-threatening emergency and requires immediate medical attention.


  • Excessive sweating.
  • Failure to drink enough fluid.
  • Recent illness involving fluid loss from vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Hot, humid weather.
  • Working or exercise in a hot environment.

Signs and symptoms

Heatstroke :

  • Sudden dizziness, weakness, faintness and headache.
  • Skin that is hot and dry.
  • No sweating.
  • High body temperature-frequently 102F (38.9C) or higher.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Muscle cramps.

Heat cramps : Symptoms of heat cramps are severe pain and cramps in the legs and abdomen, faintness or dizziness, weakness, and profuse sweating.

Heat exhaustion :

  • Skin that is cool and moist.
  • Pale or gray skin color.
  • Slow pulse.
  • Confusion.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Low or normal body temperature.
  • Dark yellow or orange urine.


  • Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
  • Laboratory studies of blood and urine to measure electrolyte levels.


Medical Treatment

  • For heatstroke: Hospitalization to lower body temperature and provide intravenous replacement fluids.
  • For heat exhaustion: Call your doctor for advice.

First Aid

  • If someone with symptoms is very hot and not sweating:
    Cool the person rapidly. Use a cold-water bath or wrap in wet sheets. Arrange for transportation to the nearest hospital. This is an emergency!
  • If someone is faint but sweating:
    Give the person cold or ice liquids (water, soft drinks or fruit juice). Don't give salt pills. Arrange for transportation to the hospital, except in mild cases. Call your doctor for advice.
  • Wear light, loose-fitting clothing in hot weather.
  • Drink extra iced water throughout practice or competition, if you sweat heavily.
  • If you feel your abilities start to diminish, stop activity and try to cool off.
  • Be adequately trained and fit before a long race.
  • Splash water on the body during a race or heavy exercise.
  • Don't take salt tablets.
  • Pay attention to early symptoms of heat illness. Reduce exercise until symptoms disappear.
  • Wear light, loose clothing, such as cotton, so sweat can evaporate. Better yet, invest in some clothes that wick, like Cool-Max.
  • Do not exercise vigorously during the hottest time of day. Try to train closer to sunrise or sunset.

First AidHealth BlogContact UsRss Feed
Bookmark and Share

(c) All rights reserved

Disclaimer: website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Always take the advice of professional health care for specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. We will not be liable for any complications, or other medical accidents arising from the use of any information on this web site. Please note that medical information is constantly changing. Therefore some information may be out of date.