What to Look For: Symptoms of Overheating and Heat Exhaustion



Feeling the heat? When left untreated, heat exhaustion can progress to the point of heatstroke; a serious life-threatening condition. Heat exhaustion is characterized by a body temperature greater than 103°F. High body temperatures could cause brain or vital organ damage. Instead of leaving yourself or others at risk, it helps to know the signs of overheating. 

Keep reading to discover the symptoms and risk factors of overheating, heatstroke, and exhaustion. By keeping an eye out for these symptoms, you can get treatment and cool down as soon as possible.

Remain vigilant by tracking these symptoms.

1. Prickly Heat

The average temperature around the plant has been the highest ever recorded over the past four years. Prolonged exposure to these higher temperatures can cause prickly heat.

This symptom of overheating and heat exhaustion is most common in children. Heat causes your sweat glands to become congested. Congestion can lead to an unpleasant prickly sensation at the chest, back, and neck. 

Regular baths and showers can help relieve this symptom. You can also try:

  • Applying calamine lotion to relieve itching
  • Wearing loose clothing
  • An antihistamine

In some cases, you can also use hydrocortisone cream.

2. Fainting

Fainting is also a common symptom of heat sickness.

When the blood vessels relax to increase circulation, heat will radiate from your skin. This can cause you to faint. You might also experience lower blood pressure and reduced blood supply to the brain.

Make sure to lie the affected person down flat after they faint. They’ll need oral fluids, relief from the heat, and rest.

3. Swelling

Swelling of the hands and feet can also symptoms of heat exhaustion. This symptom is more common in females. Swelling happens when blood supply to your skin increases.

Your skin will also radiate heat, causing fluid to move out of the blood vessels and into the tissues, causing swelling.

The population of adults ages 65 and older are at a higher risk of heat-related death. If you notice these signs of heatstroke, make sure to get out of the heat. 

4. Cramps

Heat-related cramps often begin an hour or more after exercising in the heat. These pain contractions often involve muscles in the calves, thighs, and abdomen.

Gentle stretching can help relieve this symptom. Make sure to rest and hydrate with water, too. 

5. Causes and Risk Factors

Overheating and heat stroke often occur when your body’s internal temperature rises.

Your body might fail to cool itself, causing:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Thirst
  • Muscle cramps

Dehydration, alcohol use, and overdressing can also cause symptoms of heat exhaustion. 

Risk factors include:

  • Young or old age
  • Certain drugs that are used to treat high blood pressure and heart problems
  • Obesity
  • Sudden temperature changes
  • A high heat index

Make sure to drink plenty of fluids. IV fluid hydration can also help. Protect yourself from the sun with sunscreen and a hat, too. 

Keep It Cool: 5 Symptoms and Causes of Overheating and Heat Exhaustion

Cooldown and avoid the heat. Now that you know these symptoms and causes of overheating and heat exhaustion, you can avoid a heat stroke!

Noticing these symptoms? Visit one of these locations today for immediate urgent care!