First Aid: Heat Illness
Heat exhaustion starts slowly, but if it's not quickly treated it can progress to heatstroke. In heatstroke, a person's temperature reaches 105°F (40.5°C) or higher. Heatstroke requires immediate emergency medical care and can be life-threatening.
Signs and Symptoms
Of heat exhaustion:
- increased thirst
- weakness and extreme tiredness
- muscle cramps
- nausea and vomiting
- increased sweating
- cool, clammy skin
- body temperature rises, but to less than 105°F (40.5°C)
- severe headache
- weakness, dizziness
- fast breathing and heartbeat
- loss of consciousness (passing out)
- little or no sweating
- flushed, hot, dry skin
- body temperature rises to 105°F (40.5°C) or higher
What to Do
If your child has symptoms of heatstroke, get emergency medical care immediately.
For cases of heat exhaustion or while awaiting help for a child with possible heatstroke:
- Bring the child indoors or into the shade immediately.
- Undress the child.
- Have the child lie down; raise the feet slightly.
- If the child is alert, place in a lukewarm bath or spray with lukewarm water.
- If the child is alert and coherent, give frequent sips of cool, clear fluids.
- If the child is vomiting, turn onto his or her side to prevent choking.
- Teach kids to always drink plenty of liquids before and during any activity in hot, sunny weather — even if they aren't thirsty.
- Make sure kids wear light-colored, loose clothing in warm weather.
- Remind kids to look for shaded areas and rest often while outside.
- Don't let kids participate in heavy activity outdoors during the hottest hours of the day.
- Teach kids to come indoors immediately whenever they feel overheated.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2018 KidsHealth ® All rights reserved. Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com