What Can First Aid Do for Heat Exhaustion?


Quick Answer

In certain cases, first aid for heat exhaustion reduces symptoms, according to MedlinePlus. It sometimes keeps heat exhaustion from turning into dangerous heat stroke. In addition, monitoring heat exhaustion warns the caregiver if the patient's condition worsens, and professional emergency medical help is required, Mayo Clinic observes.

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Full Answer

Symptoms of heat exhaustion often appear without warning and include dizziness, headache, nausea, cramps, dark urine, fatigue, profuse sweating and cool, moist skin, Mayo Clinic states. People tend to experience heat exhaustion after strenuous exercise, in hot weather and when limited salt and fluids have been consumed.

First aid for heat exhaustion begins with getting the patient to lie down in a cool, preferably air-conditioned area, explains Mayo Clinic. The feet are raised, and clothing is loosened. The patient should drink cool water or other non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic liquid. Spraying or sponging the patient with cool water is advised, as is fanning.

Patients should not be given fever medications such as aspirin and acetaminophen, MedlinePlus warns. Salt should not be administered. No drinks should be given to a vomiting or unconscious patient. In addition, alcohol should not be used to cool the skin.

While first aid is undertaken, the patient's condition should be watched for signs of deterioration, recommends Mayo Clinic. If symptoms worsen, emergency medical help should be obtained immediately. Warning signals of heat stroke include fainting, confusion and seizures. Also, under these circumstances, a fever of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or above requires medical intervention.

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