Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Heat Illness Overview

What is a heat illness?
A person with heat illness has symptoms caused by exposure to a hot environment. Mild heat illness may cause mild swelling or muscle cramps, while severe heat illness may include symptoms of heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

What are the symptoms of a heat illness?
Symptoms depend on the severity of the heat illness. Symptoms of mild heat illness may include swelling, dizziness, mild muscle aches, and nausea. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dry mouth, dry skin, excessive thirst, fever, faintness, headache, severe muscle aches, nausea, palpitations, vomiting, and weakness and fatigue.

How does the doctor treat a heat illness?
Treatment depends on the severity of the heat illness. Treatment for mild heat illness involves avoiding the warm environment and oral fluids. Treatment for heat exhaustion may include removing clothing, tepid water bath or sponge bath, oral fluids, intravenous fluids, and rest in a cool environment.

Continue to Heat Illness Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Heat Illness References
  1. Booker RJ, Bricknell MC. Heat illness--recent developments. J R Army Med Corps. 2002 Mar;148(1):11-8. [12024885]
  2. Bytomski JR, Squire DL. Heat illness in children. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2003 Dec;2(6):320-4. [14583161]
  3. Coris EE, Ramirez AM, Van Durme DJ. Heat illness in athletes: the dangerous combination of heat, humidity and exercise. Sports Med. 2004;34(1):9-16. [14715036]
  4. Lugo-Amador NM, Rothenhaus T, Moyer P. Heat-related illness. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2004 May;22(2):315-27, viii. [15163570]
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