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Q: What are heat exhaustion and heat stroke?

Posted July 08, 2015 in Advice Column, Norwalk

A: Heat exhaustion usually occurs when you are sweating a lot and do not drink enough to replace the lost fluids.  It generally develops when you are working or exercising in hot weather.  Symptoms include sweating a lot, fatigue, weakness, headache, dizziness or nausea.  Your skin feels cool, moist, pale or flushed.  Heat exhaustion can sometimes lead to heat stroke, which requires medical treatment.  Heat stroke happens when your body fails to regulate its own temperature and your body temperature continues to rise.  You may stop sweating entirely if you have heat stroke.  Symptoms of heat stroke include confusion, or unconsciousness, the skin is red, hot and dry even in the armpits.


  • Drink 8-10 glasses of water per day, drink even more if you are working or exercising in hot weather
  • Avoid strenuous physical activity outdoors during the hottest part of the day
  • Wear light colored clothing, loose-fitting and a hat with a brim to reflect the sun
  • Avoid sudden changes of temperature

We all enjoy the summer weather and the outdoor activities it brings, but with the heat comes real possibilities of health issues as shown above.


Information provided by William (Bill) Chase, MD, UnityPoint Clinic, 285-3200.


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