CPR First Aid

Heatstroke vs. Heat Exhaustion

Heatstroke vs Heat Exhaustion

Summertime is a great time to get outside and enjoy the weather. However, it is important to be aware of the dangers of too much heat exposure. In this blog post, we will discuss the difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and what you can do to prevent them from happening. Stay safe out there!

What is the Difference between Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke?

Heat exhaustion happens when the body loses too much salt and water through perspiration, usually as a result of being exposed to very high temperatures during summer heat waves. When a person’s body temperature exceeds 37° C—above the body’s typical operating range of 36°–37° C—it is likely to occur. Heatstroke results from improper management of heat exhaustion.

Heat exhaustion is a condition that develops when the body loses a lot of water and salt through perspiration, usually as a result of exposure to very high temperatures or summer heat waves. The body’s usual working temperature is between 36° and 37° C, thus when a person’s body temperature exceeds that, it is likely to happen. Heatstroke will result if heat exhaustion is not treated adequately.

How to Treat Heatstroke?

When the body temperature reaches 40 degrees or above, heat stroke usually ensues. Quick first aid must be administered in this circumstance to avoid complications with other body organs that could cause unconsciousness and death. While awaiting the arrival of emergency personnel, the goal of first aid is to quickly lower core body temperature.

According to Mayo Clinic here’s how to treat heatstroke:

  • Immerse you in cold water. A bath of cold or ice water has been proved to be the most effective way of quickly lowering your core body temperature. The quicker you can receive cold water immersion, the less risk of death and organ damage.
  • Use evaporation cooling techniques. If cold water immersion is unavailable, health care workers may try to lower your body temperature using an evaporation method. Cool water is misted on your body while warm air is fanned over you, causing the water to evaporate and cool your skin.
  • Pack you with ice and cooling blankets. Another method is to wrap you in a special cooling blanket and apply ice packs to your groin, neck, back and armpits to lower your temperature.
  • Give you medications to stop your shivering. If treatments to lower your body temperature make you shiver, your doctor may give you a muscle relaxant, such as a benzodiazepine. Shivering increases your body temperature, making treatment less effective.

What is Heat-related Illness?

According to NSW Health Government, here are the heat-related illnesses:

Heat-related illness includes dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and worsening of existing medical conditions. If you have a medical condition such as heart disease, diabetes, or kidney disease and if you take certain medications, heat can make your symptoms worse.

Who Is Most At Risk of Heatstroke?

According to BetterHealth Channelpeople most at risk of heatstroke are:

  • People over 65 years, particularly those living alone or without air conditioning
  • Babies and young children
  • Pregnant and nursing mothers
  • People who have existing medical conditions, especially with heart disease, high blood pressure or lung disease
  • People on medications for mental illness.

How to Prevent Heatstroke?

  1. Stay hydrated.
  2. Stay out of the heat as much as possible.
  3. Keep your space cool with circulating air.
  4. Wear weather-appropriate clothing and protect yourself from sun damage.
  5. Rest often and save strenuous activities for the cooler parts of the day.
  6. Monitor for signs of heat-related illness and act promptly.
  7. Check on others, especially those who are older, sick or frail.
  8. Babies and young children are more vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat, as they can’t adapt easily to changing temperatures. Take extra steps to care for young children during hot weather, and never leave anyone (including pets) unattended in a car.

If heat exhaustion is not managed well, this may lead to heatstroke. Remember the first aid tips for heatstroke.

First Aid of Heatstroke

When the body temperature reaches 40 degrees or above, heat stroke usually ensues. Quick first aid must be administered in this circumstance to avoid complications with other body organs that could cause unconsciousness and death. While awaiting the arrival of emergency personnel, the goal of first aid therapy is to quickly lower core body temperature.

  1. Follow DRS ABCD
  2. Call 000 – Heatstroke is a medical emergency. If someone has heatstroke call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance
  3. Remove from the heat source – remove the casualty from exposure to extreme heat to a shadier and/or cooler place
  4. Follow the steps for Lowering Body Temperature:
    – Removing excess clothing
    – Sponging or spraying them with water and fanning the damp skin
    – Immersing them in cool water
    – Placing cold packs under their armpits or groin, or on the back of their neck
  5. If unconscious, place them in the recovery position – for unconscious casualties, place them on their side with their mouth down (to drain any fluid) and the chin up to prevent possible suffocation.
  6. If conscious, give the person sips of cool fluid if possible.
  7. Do not give aspirin or paracetamol to someone with heatstroke, this may make things worse.

First Aid Courses in Liverpool

Risks of dehydration, hypertension and hypotension can be prevented. Early detection of signs and symptoms will help you manage it. If you are interested in enrolling in a first aid course in Liverpool, contact CPR First Aid for more information.

CPR First aid courses and training are open to all since emergency situations such as complications caused by dehydration can happen to all ages, anywhere in Australia. NRT LogoHLTAID010 Provide an emergency first aid response is one of our popular courses. Contact us anytime for your queries.

About CPR First Aid

RTO No. 21903: CPR First Aid was founded in 2007. We specialise in providing first aid training in CPR, asthma and anaphylaxis for a range of workplaces including childcare, schools and other industries in NSW, VIC, SA, WA and QLD. We are a Registered Training Organisation with the Australian Skills Quality Authority (No 21903). Our courses and Units are VET-accredited for workplaces in Australia.


When the signs and symptoms of heat stroke are addressed promptly, it can be avoided. It is possible to administer first aid for heatstroke and other heat-related disorders. You will avoid difficulties and possibly even death by doing this. You can join our team in Liverpool to continue your first aid training.

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