Heat stroke vs heat exhaustion: what are the signs?

Posted at 2:25 PM, Jun 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-14 15:25:35-04

The heat the Coastal Bend has seen lately, isn’t just a nuisance. It can also pose serious health risks, like heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Dr. Lamar Moody, who works in the emergency room at CHRISTUS Spohn Shoreline, says it’s important to know the warning signs of these heat-related emergencies.

Most people experience heat exhaustion, the more common of the two and less severe emergency. Dr. Moody weighs in on some of the symptoms.

"You’re outside, you’re feeling dizzy and weak and sweaty, and you just got that crave to get out of the sun," Dr. Moody said.

Other signs include excessive sweating, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps, or cool, pale, clammy skin. Heat exhaustion can be treated by getting to a cooler place, drinking cold water, or taking a cool shower. Medical attention is not required.

Meanwhile, heat stroke, the more serious of the two, can be fatal. Dr. Moody says that’s why it’s important to recognize the symptoms of heat stroke.

"People stop sweating, their body temperature rises and they get a little altered — a little loopy," Dr. Moody said.

Other signs of heat stroke include a headache, red, hot, dry skin, nausea, vomiting, and loss on consciousness.

Dr. Moody encourages anyone who is experiencing a heat stroke, to seek medical help immediately. If medical help isn’t available, he advises having someone there to look after the sick individual.?

Both heat-related emergencies can be avoided by preparing for the weather, drinking plenty of water, wearing protective clothing, and sitting in the shade when possible.

Dr. Moody adds most people who suffer from heat stroke or heat exhaustion are elderly, or people who did not plan on being outdoors for a long period of time.