Heat related illness afflict millions of people each year. Knowing the difference between the two can save a life.
Heat exhaustion is obviously a result of overexposure to heat, resulting in profuse sweating and tired condition. Victims in this situation often were participating in some sort of strenuous activity and are now feeling the effects of it. They are often flushed and red in the face. The body’s cooling system is working overtime to cool the body quickly. The victim is in danger, but the situation is not life threatening yet.
Heat stroke results from a body that is unable to cool itself anymore. More than likely the victim goes into heat stroke after a prolonged period of heat exhaustion. There is no more sweat to cool the body and now the brain is preparing for the worst by shutting down unneeded organs to preserve the rest of the body. The victim may be unconscious and pale. What you are seeing is a person close to death and must get help quickly.
You should call 911 in any heat related emergency. You should also try to get the person out of the heat and in a comfortable position. In the case of heat exhaustion, you may try to give the victim some fluids, but don’t attempt this with heat stroke. Don’t try to pack ice around the victim either as this may put the person into shock. You want to gently cool the victim and seek professional medical attention as quickly as possible.