Heat exhaustion vs. heat stroke: what’s the difference?

Protect yourself from heat exhaustion and heatstroke this summer

It’s easy to get caught up in summer fun outdoors, but becoming overheated may increase your internal body temperatures faster than your body can cool down. This may result in heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

Heat exhaustion is uncomfortable as your body is under extreme stress.

Symptoms include but aren’t limited to:

  • Slight increase in body temperature below 40°C
  • Increased heart rate
  • Heat cramps
  • Pale, clammy skin
  • Feeling tired and weak, and very thirsty

If you cannot cool down quickly enough, you risk getting heatstroke.

Heatstroke may occur when your body has lost its ability to cool down. It is considered to be a severe heat related illness is likely to require medical emergency care.

Heatstroke symptoms include but aren’t limited to:

  • High body temperature of 40°C
  • Increased heart rate and low blood pressure
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of consciousness, fainting, and seizures

Thankfully, proper prevention methods can help stop heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

You can do this by:

  1. Staying hydrated throughout the day. This means drinking water, even when you don’t feel thirsty!
  2. Taking frequent breaks from being outdoors and avoiding being outside during the hottest part of the day (between 3pm to 5pm)
  3. Staying indoors where there’s air conditioning on extremely hot days
  4. Avoiding alcohol, especially on very hot days, as it’ll dehydrate you more quickly than water
  5. Wearing loose, light-coloured clothing and a hat if you go out for a short time in the heat
  6. If you have to work outside, plan to do so in the earlier, cooler hours, and drink plenty of water. If you can’t work outside earlier in the day, wear light-coloured clothing, a hat, and drink 2 to 4 glasses of fluid every hour.

If you feel unwell this summer and don’t have access to a doctor, you can see a doctor online in minutes, 24/7 on Maple. Get health advice, prescriptions, lab requisitions, and more, anytime, anywhere. ivari critical illness policyholders can get more information on their Maple coverage at ivari.ca/maple.

So, just how much do you know about heat exhaustion vs. heat stroke? Take our quiz below to find out.