This summer has seen some of the hottest temperatures recorded since the summer of 1976. Unfortunately it can be directly correlated to the number of people suffering with heat exhaustion, typically due to being stuck in the weather or during periods of physical exertion.

Heat exhaustion itself can be serious but does not need to be a cause of panic. The condition can quickly alleviate if the symptoms are spotted early and a first aid treatment protocol is implemented.

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What You May Need

Consider carrying the following items, or add them to your first aid kit during hot spells of weather:

  1. Large bottle of water
  2. Sports drink (contain salts and sugars to aid rehydration)
  3. Cold packs 
  4. Oral thermometer 
  5. Sponges

Symptoms

It is essential to spot the symptoms of heat exhaustion early, which can help prevent the condition from developing into heat stroke. Look out for the following signs/ symptoms when assessing a casualty’s condition:

  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Nausea / vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin
  • Temperature of 38C or above
  • Muscle cramps and aches
  • Racing pulse

Helpful hint - Use the oral thermometer within the first aid kit to measure the casualty’s temperature

Treatment

Once diagnosed its possible to implement a simple treatment protocol which can help the casualty make a quick recovery. Follow these simple steps when treating someone with heat exhaustion:

  1. Move them to a cool / shady place
  2. Lie them down, loosen tight clothing and elevate the legs slightly
  3. Rehydrate with water and sports drinks (when available)
  4. Use sponges to wipe sweat and cool the skin
  5. Place cold packs under the arms and around the neck

Helpful hint - Use sugary drinks, or add sugar and salt to water, when no sports drinks are available

When To Call 999

Call the emergency services (999/112) when the casualty shows any of the following symptoms:

  • Becomes unresponsive
  • Suffers a seizure like episode
  • Records a temperature of 40C or higher
  • Stops sweating despite being extremely hot
  • Becomes unconscious

Remember - If in doubt call the emergency services and listen to their instructions