What is heat exhaustion?

Heat Exhaustion
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Heat exhaustion in children: Overview

Heat exhaustion occurs when your child is hot, sweats a lot, and does not drink enough to replace the lost fluids. Heat exhaustion is not the same as heatstroke, which is much more serious. Heatstroke can lead to problems with many different organs and can be life-threatening.

After medical care for heat exhaustion, limit activity while your child recovers.

Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion occurs when you can't sweat enough to cool your body. It can develop when you work or exercise in hot weather and don't drink enough liquids to replace the fluids you lose from sweating a lot. Heat exhaustion can be caused by loss of fluid (dehydration) or loss of electrolytes.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include fatigue, weakness, headache, dizziness, and nausea. Also, the skin is pale, cool, and moist.

Mild heat exhaustion may sometimes cause fainting. But it doesn't cause a change in your mental alertness and usually can be treated at home.

Moderate to severe heat exhaustion can sometimes lead to heatstroke, which requires emergency treatment.

Here's Help: Mild Heat Exhaustion in Children

Heat exhaustion in children: When to call

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child feels very hot and:
    • Has a seizure.
    • Appears to be confused.
    • Has skin that is red, hot, and dry.
    • Passes out (loses consciousness).

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child cannot keep fluids down.
  • After returning to normal activities, your child has symptoms of heat exhaustion, such as sweating a lot, fatigue, dizziness, or nausea.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.

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