Heatstroke vs. Heat Exhaustion What’s the Difference?

With summer temperatures climbing into the 90’s in North Florida, your risk of suffering from heat exhaustion and heatstroke also rises. Both heatstroke and heat exhaustion are serious conditions and it’s important to know the difference between the two and when to seek treatment.


Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a condition caused by exposure to high temperatures for an extended period of time. It’s often accompanied by dehydration. While it’s less serious than heatstroke, it’s important to act quickly when you recognize the symptoms. Heat exhaustion can lead to the more dangerous heatstroke without treatment.


Symptoms of Heat Exhaustion

  • Headache
  • Dizziness and/or faintness
  • Heavy sweating
  • Cool and clammy skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Muscle cramps
  • Excessive thirst
  • Fatigue


What to Do

  • Move to a cooler place
  • Hydrate with cool water or sports drinks
  • Stop all activity and rest
  • Take a cool shower our use cold compresses
  • Loosen tight clothing


If symptoms worsen or continue for more than an hour, visit MedOne, your local St. Augustine Urgent Care Center for treatment.




Heatstroke is a life threatening condition caused by your body overheating after prolonged exposure to high temperatures or from physical exertion in high heat. If left untreated, heatstroke can damage your brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles and possibly lead to death.


Symptoms of Heat Stroke

  • High body temperature of 104° or higher
  • Altered mental state such as confusion or slurred speech
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Flushed skin
  • Racing heart beat
  • Rapid breathing
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of sweating despite the heat
  • Muscle weakness or cramps


What to Do

If you suspect someone has heat stroke, call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately.  While waiting for emergency treatment, you can take immediate action to cool the overheated person by:

  • Getting them into a cooler location
  • Removing excess clothing
  • Cooling them with a cold shower or bath
  • Applying cold compresses or ice packs to armpits, groin, neck and back areas



Tips for the Prevention of Heat-Related Illnesses

  • Wear a hat and loose fitting, lightweight clothing
  • Protect against sunburn
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest parts of the day
  • Take periodic breaks in the shade or air-conditioned space


Need Treatment for a Summer Illness?

MedOne Urgent Care is your local alternative to the Emergency Room. Our highly trained medical staff provides quality care and treatment for a wide variety of injuries and illnesses.


We’re open 7 days a week. No appointment necessary.


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