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Heat Exhaustion vs. Heat Stroke: 12 Key Differences


We’re coming into that time of the season when temperatures soar – we’ve already seen some very high spring temperatures in the northern U.S. But with high heat comes a higher risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and there’s nothing cool about either of them.

It’s important to take precautions when you’re outdoors for extended periods of time, and know the signs of these heat-related illnesses. Here are 12 main differences between heat exhaustion and heat stroke…

1. Defining Heat Exhaustion

Looking at heat exhaustion from a children’s point of view, ActiveKids.com explains that heat exhaustion is when your body has not been properly hydrated. “In children, ensuring proper hydration while they play or participate in athletics is vitally important,” it notes.

Children heat up even more than adults (in already hot conditions) when they’re taking part in sports and other activities, but their ability to sweat is less than adults. “This reduces their ability to get rid of body heat and can quickly lead to dehydration,” it adds.

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