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What is heat exhaustion and what prevents it?

Heat exhaustion is a more serious state of heat illness that usually occurs in a person who has not gotten used to exercising in the heat. Heat exhaustion also can occur in unacclimatized individuals especially if they have not consumed enough water prior to or during their workout. Heat exhaustion may or may not include collapse with or without consciousness. Symptoms include excessive sweating, cold clammy skin, normal or slightly elevated body temperature, paleness, dizziness, weak and rapid pulse, shallow breathing, nausea, and headache. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should immediately stop exercising and get into the shade, or better yet, get inside an air-conditioned building. An abundant amount of fluid should be consumed. If the situation seems severe enough, elevate the feet and seek medical help.


Stephen D. Ball, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Nutritional Sciences, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri Extension








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