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Keep cool! The warning signs of heat exhaustion, via the Health Center

August 27, 2013

We’ve just received word from the Health and Wellness Center that they’ve been seeing a number of students with heat-related health issues. Your best bet? Stay hydrated. But please be aware that heat exhaustion is serious, and dealing with it quickly and appropriately is key.

What are the symptoms of heat exhaustion?

  • Profuse sweating
  • Dizziness, fatigue, feeling light-headed or faint
  • Muscle cramps/weakness
  • Headache/nausea and vomiting
  • Pale or clammy skin
  • Intense thirst

As dehydration increases from the loss of body water, lightheadedness may occur and fainting may occur, especially if the affected individual stands up. A low-grade fever also may be present.

When should you seek medical care?

Heat exhaustion usually can be treated at home as long as you can maintain proper hydration and find a cool place to rest. Water, electrolyte replacement solutions, or sport drinks are appropriate to consume. If nausea and vomiting prevent rehydration, the individual should seek medical attention, and may need IV fluids for rehydration, which, on campus, means calling security at ext. 2355 and going to the ER. It is important to recognize that if the person stops sweating, becomes confused, or has a seizure, heat stroke, a life-threatening condition, may be developing. Muscle cramps can be severe and if stretching and rehydration cannot relieve recurrent cramps, medical care also may be necessary.

Heat exhaustion is serious. Remember: the Health Center is not an emergency room. They can assess your symptoms, but keep in mind they may require additional medical support, and are not on call 24/7.

Health Center Hours:

8:30 a.m. - noon and 1 p.m. - 4 p.m., Monday through Friday

Stay cool, hydrated, and safe!