Heat Illnesses

Temperatures in San Diego County and other parts of the country hit the 100s in the summer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 618 people die from complications related to extreme heat each year in the United States. Brush up on your knowledge of heat illnesses now to avoid getting caught in a dangerous situation.


Heat exhaustion can occur if you have been in high temperatures and you are dehydrated. Symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness/fainting
  • Excess sweating
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Dark urine due to dehydration

What to do:

  • Get out of the heat and sun
  • Cool off with air conditioning, fans, ice, or a cool shower
  • Drink water or sports drinks with electrolytes, not caffeine or alcohol
  • Avoid the heat for approximately one week afterwards

If these measures do not help, seek emergency treatment because heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke!


Heat stroke is more dangerous than heat exhaustion and requires immediate medical treatment, as it can cause brain damage or other fatal damage to the body. Like heat exhaustion, heat stroke occurs when you have been in high temperatures and you are dehydrated. In addition, your core body temperature is greater than 104 degrees Fahrenheit. It may be brought on by merely being in the heat for too long, or it may be caused by exertion.

Symptoms include those for heat exhaustion, plus:

  • Disorientation/confusion
  • Serious headache
  • Red, hot skin
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fainting/unconsciousness
  • Seizure
  • Lack of sweating

What to do:

If you are with someone who experiences these symptoms, call 911 immediately! While you are awaiting emergency services:

  • Try to take the person’s temperature if possible
  • Get the person out of the heat and sun
  • Wet the person’s skin with towels, hose, or in a tub of cool water if possible
  • Fan the person while his/her skin is wet
  • Have the person, if conscious, drink water or sports drinks with electrolytes


You may be able to prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

  • Monitor the weather in advance of outdoor activities, and look out for heat alerts
  • Get outdoor exercise done in the morning or evening when the heat index is the lowest
  • Wear loose, lightweight, and light-colored clothing outside
  • Use sunscreen
  • Wear a hat
  • Drink water or sports drinks with electrolytes, not caffeine or alcohol

If you have experienced any heat-related illness and want to check on your recovery progress, contact us today for an appointment!

The content provided in our website blogs is offered for informational purposes only, and it should not be considered as the practice of medicine or medical advice regarding the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition or disease. You should consult with a medical professional if you have any questions regarding a condition or disease in relation to your specific healthcare needs. If you feel that you are experiencing a medical emergency, please contact 911 immediately.

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