Posted by: nedpelger | July 21, 2009

Heat Exaustion for Dummies

We just took a long weekend at the beach and I rode bike from Ocean City NJ to Cape May with my 14 year old nephew. It’s about a 40 mile ride and he doesn’t ride bike much. He’s on the junior high track team, though, and I figured he’d be fine.

As we rode, he seemed fine, never complaining and not falling behind. We kept a reasonable pace and stopped a couple times to buy bottles of  Gatorade. So imagine my surprise when we get back to the house and he starts acting disoriented and spikes a fever. When his temperature hit 102.5, we decided to take a trip to the Emergency Room. Since our youngest daughter had just gashed her foot on the a screen door


and had the bone showing on the top of her foot, we decided to try to negotiate a two-for-one offer.

Tessa’s foot got stitched, as shown below.



Which truly is an amazing process, by the way. I’m so glad some people decide they love healing and fixing people as much as I love building things. Also, cell phone cameras are fun and useful for hospital visits.

Anyway, my nephew, well grand-nephew, actually, had to stay a few hours and get some IV fluids till he started feeling better.

With summer upon us, what should we all know about Heat Exhaustion vs Heat Stroke?

Both come from strenuous activity in hot, usually humid conditions where substantial sweating occurs. Heat Exhaustion has the temperature rising up to 104 F, if it’s over that, it’s Heat Stroke (which can be fatal).

It’s time to take a trip to the Emergency Room with any of the following conditions below:

  1. Loss of consciousness, confusion, or delirium
  2. Chest or abdominal pain
  3. Inability to drink fluids
  4. Continuous vomiting
  5. Temperature more than 104°F
  6. Temperature that is rising despite attempts to cool the person

If you’re not quite ready for that drive to the ER, try to rest in a cool place, drink plenty of fluids with Electrolytes (like Gatoraid), take a cool shower and avoid alcohol and caffeine (which are further dehydrating).

With Heat Exhaustion, avoid strenuous exercise for a few days and let your body re-boot.

Pay attention to these conditions on the jobsite as the summer heats up.


  1. Great story thanks for sharing. When I was a still a superintendent, i used to buy the Gatorade powder mix. I had a 5 gallon water cooler that I would mix Gatorade for the guys on those hot summer days. It is amazing how those sports drinks can help on those hot days.

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