What heat exhaustion looks like

July 22, 2011 at 5:42 PM
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MELROSE PARK, Ill., July 22 (UPI) -- With the U.S. heatwave ongoing and many major cities experiencing temperature in triple digits, a doctor explains what heat exhaustion looks like.

Dr. Thomas James, who practices family medicine at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, part of Loyola University Health System near Chicago, says it's important to recognize the warning signals of heat exhaustion -- a common heat-related ailment that occurs during hot weather.

"Signs of heat exhaustion include being sweaty, weak, tired or even giddy, nauseous, high body temperature and pale -- sometimes flushed -- clammy skin," James says in a statement.

James recommends treating heat exhaustion by resting in a cool place and drinking an electrolyte solution such as a non-caffeinated sports drink. In hot temperatures avoid drinking caffeinated beverages.

"In severe cases involving vomiting or fainting, see your physician or go immediately to the emergency department at a hospital," James adds.

Heat stroke is caused when sweating stops and the body cannot get rid of excess heat. Symptoms of heat stroke include: mental confusion, fainting or seizures; body temperature of 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher and hot, dry skin usually red or blueish in color.

"If heat stroke is suspected, call 9-1-1 immediately for an ambulance, then move the person to a cool area and soak with cool water," James says. "Fan the person vigorously to increase cooling."

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