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Safety - Heat Exhaustion/Heat Stroke

You are here: Safety > Health > Heat Exhaustion/Heat Stroke


Personal health and well being should be a concern of all activities of daily living. This includes those activities that are done for recreational enjoyment. Though often not encountered, there are some health hazards that have potential exposure for those visiting our lands. To become familiar with these hazards, click on the following links for an in depth explanation of the process, potential for exposure, and safety measures.

For more information on health related hazards see also:

Lyme Disease

Hantavirus

Hypothermia and Frostbite


Heat Exhaustion/Heat Stroke

Heat exhaustion typically occurs when excessive activity is done in a hot, humid place, causing the body to have excessive loss of fluid. Vital organs began to lose blood flow because blood flow is diverted to the skin.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion are prolonged sweating, paleness, clammy skin, nausea, muscle cramps, headache, dizziness, weakening of the body and extreme fatigue. The body will lose fluids, which can cause an electrolyte imbalance. This imbalance can cause the person to collapse or have a heat stroke.

With a heat stroke, the person sweats very little or not at all. There is a rapid pulse, flushed skin and a decrease in mental status. The temperature of the body increases to 104 F rapidly. Treatment involves seeking medical attention immediately, moving the person to a cool area, loosen clothing, application of wet cloths, and encouragement of intake of fluids if conscious. This should be done until the body temperature drops to 101 F.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be prevented. Care should be taken to plan activities in temperatures that are not extremely hot and taxing on the body. Wear clothing that allows the body to breath and intake air. Drink plenty of fluids while conducting any activity in heated conditions. It is recommended that a quart of fluid is consumed every hour. Schedule plenty of time for rest breaks within the planned activity period.



US Forest Service
Last modified March 28, 2013
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