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Uniformed officer fallen due to heat exhaustion

Over the Top: 5 Warning Signs of Heat Exhaustion

With the sun high overhead and the waves of heat radiating all around, the sweat-stained cowboy listlessly drags his boots across the sand. One step at a time. Praying for water. Wondering if he’ll make it in time.

While this old TV scene may not describe you, we do live in a hot climate and suffering from the effects of the heat is a very real part of our lives. Heat exhaustion occurs when your body becomes overheated and can’t cool down enough through sweating. A high heat index with humidity is a prime opportunity for heat exhaustion to strike.

“It is generally believed that once you suffer from heat exhaustion, your body will be prone to overheat again,” said Advance ER physician Dr. Ron Bryce. “Prevention is by far the best approach to heat exhaustion.”

If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, a life-threatening condition. This summer, be aware of the dangers by learning these 5 warning signs of heat exhaustion.

  1. Rapid Heartbeat

When your body becomes overheated, your heart rate will speed up. If you feel your pulse racing and you feel weak, it’s a good indicator that you need to stop what you’re doing and work on cooling down.

  1. Sweaty Skin

While sweating is your body’s way of cooling down when it’s overheated, if you are sweating profusely, you know you’re using up your body’s hydration and are headed towards heat exhaustion.

  1. Less Sweating, Cool Skin

Worse, if your sweat tapers off, your skin is moist or even dry and hot, and you suddenly feel chilled, you’re in advanced stages of heat exhaustion. If you’ve got goose bumps, you are extremely overheated. Stop what you’re doing immediately and get cooled down.

  1. Fainting, Dizzy, Light-Headed

If you’re feeling dizzy or if you are fainting, you’ve become dangerously overheated. Your heart rate has changed due to the stress of the heat, causing these symptoms. Nausea and vomiting can accompany the dizziness.

  1. Headache

Heat exhaustion causes your heart rate to speed up and your blood pressure to drop. These factors can then cause a headache. If you are working hard in the heat and you get a headache, it’s time to take a long break.

What Should I Do?

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, or even if you are having muscle cramps which are an early indicator of becoming overheated, follow these suggestions:

  • Take a break from your activity and sit down in a cool place
  • Apply cool cloths to your skin
  • Drink water and sports drinks to rehydrate yourself

“You need to rest for at least an hour after experiencing heat exhaustion,” said Dr. Bryce. “Even then, you will need to take it easy for several hours. If you have vomited, passed out, can’t cool down or if you feel like you’re not getting better, come right away to Advance ER where we can assist you.”

Only at an emergency room can you receive the IV’s needed to recover from heat exhaustion. Advance ER’s onsite pharmacy has the necessary medication to help you start to feel like yourself again.

Our board-certified emergency physicians are always ready to help you when you need it, offering the right care at the right place at the right time.

Advance ER is available in two locations for your convenience:
Advance ER – Galleria Area

12338 Inwood Road Dallas, TX 75244

Advance ER – Park Cities

5201 W Lovers Lane Dallas, TX 75209

Meet Dr. Ron Bryce:

Ron Bryce, M.D., is board-certified in family practice. Dr. Bryce received his medical degree from Oral Roberts University School of Medicine, Tulsa, OK. He completed his residency at John P Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, TX.

Experienced with providing both emergency and routine care for patients of all ages, Dr. Bryce believes in keeping the lines of communication open with his patients and in treating them like family.