Heat Exhaustion

Heat Exhaustion


It’s summer, and it’s hot.

Heat exhaustion occurs most often when you are exposed to high temperatures and become dehydrated. This usually comes from not drinking enough fluids. It can also happen when you replace large volumes of sweat with fluids that don’t contain enough salt.

 If you are working outside, keep an eye out for the following symptoms:


ex vs stroke

Who’s most At risk?

The following factors increase the risk of developing heat-related sickness:

  • Being dehydrated
  • Age (the elderly and children under 5 years of age)
  • Illness or chronic disability
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Hypertension
  • Respiratory disease
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Physical exertion in hot or humid environments (athletes, military personnel, and outdoor laborers are particularly at risk)
  • Taking medications that interfere with the body’s ability to cool itself, including antipsychotics, tranquilizers, antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants, beta-blockers, and some over-the-counter sleeping pills

How to keep your cool:

If you are working or exercising in the heat, drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after the activity.


  • Try to stay in cool or air-conditioned spaces on hot days.
  • Drink more fluids than usual. Drinking fluids during exercise helps improve heart function, maintain kidney function, and lower the body’s core temperature. Dehydration can stress the heart and reduce the kidneys’ ability to maintain the correct balance of electrolytes.
  • Check in regularly with people who are vulnerable to heat exhaustion (see the above table).
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Drink water or sports drinks.
  • Exercise or work outdoors during cooler times of day (Noon – 4pm is usually the hottest part of the day).
  • Drink 2 cups of water 30 minutes before exercising and drink 1 cup of water every 20 minutes.
  • Take cool baths.
  • Wear loose, lightweight clothing.

What to do if you start getting overheated:

The best thing to do for heat exhaustion is to rest in a shady spot or, better, an air-conditioned room, and to drink cool (not icy) fluids. You can lower core body temperature by immersing yourself in cold water or spraying yourself with cold water and fanning. Water is usually enough to reverse dehydration, but you can also drink a sports drink that contains electrolytes.


Happy gardening, and stay safe out there!
~The Greencare Team