While it’s important to be able to identify between heat exhaustion and heat stroke, it’s equally important to stay hydrated. Heat exhaustion is usually caused by a depletion of water and salt. The affected individual will usually appear cool and clammy.
Heat stroke is when the body can no longer regulate temperature. The affected individual may have a high fever and hot dry skin accompanied by confusion or coma. Heat exhaustion sometimes precedes heat stroke.
Wearing loose fitting clothes, frequent rest and drinking lots of fluids can be a means of preventing heat stroke. Certain drugs may also affect the way your body responds to heat stress. Antihistamines should be avoided if possible. Drink enough fluid to maintain a clean stream while urinating. Water or a diluted 50/50 mix of a sports drink is recommended.
While in the field, treatment for heat exhaustion consists of removal of excess clothing, seeking shade, lying down and rehydrating. Drink cool liquids slow and steady. Heat stroke victims should cool by whatever means possible.