Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
The body cools itself by sweating and allowing that sweat to evaporate. This
requires enough fluid in the body to make sweat, air circulating across the skin,
and low enough air humidity to allow that sweat to evaporate.
Causes of heat exhaustion is activity in a hot environment can overwhelm the body's ability to cool
itself, causing heat-related symptoms.
Heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke when the body's temperature
regulation fails. The the person develops a change in mental status, becomes confused, lethargic and may
have a seizure, the
skin stops sweating, and the body temperature may exceed 106 F (41 C ). This is a
life-threatening condition and emergency medical attention is needed
Treatment for heat exhaustion includes recognizing the symptoms, stopping the activity, and moving to a cooler environment. Rehydration with water or a sports drink is the cornerstone of treatment for heat exhaustion.
Complications of heat exhaustion include nausea, vomiting, dehydration and muscle weakness. If the activity is not stopped and the person left in a hot
environment, there can be progression of symptoms to heat stroke, a life threatening emergency.
Heat exhaustion can be prevented by being aware of the your
environment, especially on hot, humid days.
Infants, children and the elderly are at risk because their bodies are less able to get rid of
Infants and children are particularly at risk during hot weather. Never
leave an infant, toddler, or child in the car when it is hot. An average of
38 children die each year after being trapped inside motor vehicles. When
outside temperatures reach 80 F to 100 F (27 C to 38 C) the internal
temperatures of vehicles parked in direct sunlight can reach up to 131 F to
172 F (55 C to 78 C). The inside of a vehicle with the windows rolled down
two inches can reach 109 F (42.7 C) within 15 minutes.
Dogs and other pets also are at risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. They do not sweat through their skin and fur, but instead cool themselves by
their foot pads, and panting and through their noses and mouths. Pet owners need to be aware of
the environment and prevent prolonged exposure to heat, and provide adequate
water to prevent dehydration. Never leave your pet in a vehicle when it is