Heat Stroke vs. Heat Exhaustion: What's The Difference? - Path 411 Pain

Heat Stroke vs. Heat Exhaustion: What’s The Difference?

Posted on : June 29, 2017

During the summer, you may find yourself spending a lot of time outdoors. If you are at the beach, working, playing sports, or at an outdoor amusement park you may forget to keep yourself hydrated. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can both happen very quickly. Often these two terms are used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. Here is the difference between these conditions and a few tips to prevent them from happening.

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion occurs when your body becomes overheated and dehydrated. Symptoms include heavy sweating, headache, nausea, damp skin with goosebumps, rapid heart rate, and severe fatigue. Heat exhaustion is actually the warning sign to heat stroke. You will experience the signs of heat exhaustion before you experience heat stroke.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is very severe compared to heat exhaustion. If you experienced heat stroke, you must seek medical attention immediately. If left untreated, heat stroke can lead to brain, nerve, or heart damage. The symptoms of heat stroke can be very similar to heat exhaustion. Usually an individual will pass out if they are experiencing heat stroke. One factor that can determine the difference between heat stroke and exhaustion, is with heat stroke the individual will usually no longer sweat because they are so overheated.

How To Prevent Them?

Both heat stroke and heat exhaustion are serious conditions. As previously mentioned, heat exhaustion occurs before heat stroke, but can often not be taken seriously till heat stroke occurs. If an individual starts to experience any of the symptoms of heat exhaustion, they should get out of the sun immediately. It is preferable if they can go indoors where there is A/C. From there the individual needs to hydrate themselves with lots of fluids. It is best to avoid alcohol and high sugar beverages. Ice packs can also be used to lower the individuals body temperature.

Always make sure to limit your time outdoors and not do any strenuous activity. The key to avoiding both conditions is staying hydrated and knowing your limits. If you start to feel overheated, head to an indoor area where you can cool down.

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