If you notice someone suddenly experiencing any of the following symptoms, you can bet that heat prostration (or exhaustion) has made an unwelcome visit.
- Sudden high temperature (but less than 104 degrees)
- Hot and flushed skin that might be clammy to the touch
- Muscle or stomach cramps
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Profuse sweating
- Rapid pulse
Treating Heat Prostration or Exhaustion
Heat exhaustion is not usually a life-threatening condition. The two important rules to remember regarding heat prostration and exhaustion are:
When suffering from heat exhaustion, you might be tempted to jump into the pool or the lake to cool off. Don't do it! If you go into the water with a case of heat exhaustion, you could end up with cramps. Worse, you could pass out or have a seizure, which might lead to drowning.
- Get the ill person out of the sun.
- Replace the body's lost fluids and salt by having the person drink lots of water, Gatorade, decaffeinated iced tea, or juice.
- Cool the person's body with fans, cool towels, or sprays.
- Keep the sufferer out of the sun for the next 12–24 hours.
A person who has suffered a bout of heat prostration needs to rest. Like that overheated car, he or she needs to cool off before “revving” up the engine again. The best bet is a full day of rest (at least 12 hours) during which time he or she should catch up on lost fluids and give the body time to repair its systems. Once a person suffers heat prostration, he is more vulnerable to another occurrence of it (and to the more serious sunstroke). So relax and enjoy your time off!