As with all other medical problems, a doctor should be called if you are not sure what is wrong, if you do not know what to do for the problem, or if the person is not responding to what you are doing for them.
For heat exhaustion, a person should go to the hospital if any of the following are present:
Home care is appropriate for mild forms of heat exhaustion. Heat stroke is a medical emergency, and an ambulance should be called immediately.
For mild cases of heat exhaustion
Heat stroke (do not attempt to treat a case of heat stroke at home, but you can help while
waiting for medical assistance to arrive.)
Call 911 immediately
Before leaving the doctor's office or hospital, be sure the patient understands the instructions that are given by the physician, in particular the information regarding work and activity restrictions. Make sure the patient has a cool environment and plenty of suitable beverages (without alcohol or caffeine).
Avoid heat exhaustion by not engaging in strenuous activity in hot, humid environments. People who are not used to the heat should be particularly careful. Intersperse periods of rest in a cool environment with plenty of available fluids to drink. Avoid strenuous activities during the hottest part of the day.
Heat stroke often occurs in people who are unable to modify their environments: infants, the elderly, and bed-ridden people. People who are taking many types of blood pressure, allergy, or depression medication may also be particularly at risk and should avoid hot environments.
People in supervisory positions such as coaches, trainers, and lifeguards should be trained to specifically recognize signs of heat illness and what preventive measures to take.
The prognosis is related to the severity of the heat exposure and the patient's general medical condition. The very young and the very old have the worst outcomes. In general, the prognosis with heat exhaustion is excellent, with full recovery expected. However, with heat stroke, permanent nerve, heart, liver, or kidney problems, or even death, can occur.
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