first aid for someone who may have heat exhaustion or heatstroke
First aid advice of how to recognise signs of and treatment for someone with heat exhaustion or heatstroke.
Someone with heat exhaustion might have been in the sun or heat for a long time. They might be paler than usual, sweating with cool skin, have a headache or dizziness and feel sick.
Learn first aid for a baby or child
We also have specific advice for first aid for a child who may have heat exhaustion.
First aid advice
1. Help them to a cool place and get them to rest.
Heat exhaustion happens when someone loses too much fluid and salt usually from sweating in hot conditions.
2. Give them plenty of water to drink
Drinking water will replace lost fluids. If you have them, isotonic sports drinks will help replace salts lost through sweating.
3. Seek medical advice
Even if the person appears to recover fully, you should seek medical advice. If their condition gets worse, call 999 for emergency help.
Common questions about first aid for someone who has heat exhaustion
What are signs of heat exhaustion?
- dizzy or confused
- complain of a headache or cramps
- be sweating, cool skin and paler than usual
- feel nauseous.
- fast breathing and heart rate
What is heatstroke?
Heatstroke occurs when someone becomes so hot it causes a failure of the brain’s thermostat, leading to the body becoming dangerously overheated. It is an emergency and needs medical help urgently.
What are signs of heatstroke?
A person with heatstroke may:
- have hot, flushed and dry skin
- have a headache, feel dizzy or be confused and/or restless
- rapidly worsening condition leading to being unresponsive
- body temperature over 40°C
What do I do if someone has heatstroke?
Call 999 immediately or ask someone else to do it.
Quickly move them into a cool environment and remove outer clothing. Loosely wrap the person in cold damp clothes or a sheet. Continuously pour cold water over the sheet or clothes. If there is no sheet available, you can also fan them or sponge them with cold water. Keep cooling them while waiting for help to arrive
If their temperature returns to normal and they no longer feel hot to touch, you can stop cooling them. Replace the wet sheet with a dry one and help them to rest.
Email us if you have any other questions about first aid for someone who has a heat exhaustion.