Understanding Heat Exhaustion

Other Important Points

While we did screw up on the above, there are other important precautions we did take. You should also:

Wear Appropriate Clothing A wide-brimmed, well-ventilated hat and a cotton, long-sleeved T-shirt are the most important items. Cover your legs as well. Light colored cotton is the best.

Rest During the Heat of the Day Don't bite off more mileage than you can handle in two stretches—the morning and late in the day. By resting during the hottest hours of the afternoon, you recover energy, absorb food better and spare precious sweat.


You should know the signs of, and treatment for, heat exhaustion and its much more dangerous cousin, heat stroke:

Heat Exhaustion The symptoms of heat exhaustion are weakness, muscle cramps, quickening heartbeat, nausea and sometimes vomiting. All are related to dehydration and the accompanying rise in internal body temperature. At this point, the situation is not an emergency, assuming you handle it correctly:

  • Make the victim stop all exertion and lie down in the shade.
  • Apply a damp cloth to the face and upper body, wetting their clothes if possible.
  • Get the victim to drink water slowly but steadily. Adding some sugar and a pinch of salt helps absorption.
  • If improvement does not occur, make arrangements to evacuate the victim.

Heat Stroke Eventually, after sufficient dehydration and hyperthermia, a person will succumb to heat stroke. This condition can lead to death or disability. All the symptoms for heat exhaustion apply, except you will also likely notice delirium, irrational thinking or unconsciousness. Once the victim is this far-gone, you must evacuate as soon as possible. Employ the cooling methods described above while transporting or waiting for transport.

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