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Heat Exhaustion Symptoms & Treatment

What is heat exhaustion?

  • A serious heat illness

  • Most common heat-related illness in active populations
  • May require medical attention

  • Probably results from a reduced blood volume due to excessive sweating, which causes blood to pool in the extremities, causing the child to faint or feel dizzy.

Heat exhaustion symptoms

  • Nausea

  • Extreme fatigue or "jelly legs"

  • Headache

  • Shortness of breath

  • Weak, rapid pulse

  • Thirst or dry mouth

  • Rectal temperature less than 104 degrees F.

Risk factors

Heat exhaustion treatment

  • Remove child from practice or game

  • Move child out of sun to a shady place

  • Have the child sip or drink fluids containing electrolytes (sports drinks) until the symptoms are gone

    • Avoid excessive drinking (child has "sloshy" feeling)

    • Good rule of thumb: have child continue sipping after cramps are gone and child has an urge to urinate
  • Remove excessive clothing

  • Cool (mainly for comfort) the child with fans, cold towels/sheets, misters, or ice bags on arms or legs

  • Hold the child out of playing or exercising in the heat for at least one full day.¬† Hold out longer if they experience any symptoms when they try to return.

  • Seek medical attention, if no improvement within 15 to 20 minutes

Revised July 19, 2010

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