Heat stroke symptoms: How to know if you have heat exhaustion or heatstroke

Heat stroke can come on very quickly if it is very hot outside and you haven’t managed to cool yourself down after showing the initial symptoms of heat exhaustion. So what are the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke?

Certain factors can increase your risk of falling ill with heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

Children under the age of four and adults over 65 are at higher risk as your ability to regulate temperature isn’t strong at these ages.

Obesity is another risk factor because your body retains more heat when you weigh more.

If you move from a colder to a warmer climate or the weather changes dramatically, you may have more difficulty regulating your body temperature as you aren’t adjusted.

Finally, humid weather makes heat exhaustion and heatstroke more likely. This is because when humidity is high, your sweat evaporates more easily, making it more difficult to cool yourself down.

READ MORE- Heatstroke in pets: How hot is too hot for cats and dogs?

Heat exhaustion symptoms

Heat exhaustion isn’t dangerous as long as you cool down within half an hour. Signs of the condition include:

• a headache
• dizziness and confusion
• loss of appetite and feeling sick
• excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin
• cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
• fast breathing or pulse
• temperature of 38C or above
• being very thirsty

To prevent heat exhaustion becoming heatstroke, you need to cool yourself down as soon as you have symptoms of heat exhaustion.

The NHS site gives four steps to follow when you have heat exhaustion. They are:

Step one

Move to a cool place.

Step two

Lie down and raise your feet slightly

Step three

Drink plenty of water, sports drinks, or rehydration drinks

Step four

Cool your skin by spraying or sponging yourself with water.

You could try having someone else fan you, and placing cold packs around your armpits or neck.

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Heatstroke symptoms

Heatstroke is much more dangerous, and as soon as you or someone else has symptoms you must ring 999 as an emergency.

The symptoms include:
• feeling unwell after 30 minutes of resting in a cool place and drinking plenty of water
• not sweating even though too hot
• a temperature of 40C or above
• fast breathing or shortness of breath
• feeling confused
• a fit (seizure)
• loss of consciousness
• not responsive

If someone loses consciousness while you are waiting for help, put them in the recovery position.

How to prevent heatstroke to heat exhaustion

To prevent heatstroke or heat exhaustion:

• drink plenty of cold drinks, especially when exercising
• take cool baths or showers
• wear light-coloured, loose clothing
• sprinkle water over skin or clothes
• avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm
• avoid excess alcohol
• avoid extreme exercise

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