Featured Infographics Wellness

Heat exhaustion versus heat stroke

Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for Southern Ontario, meaning heat and humidity are expected to rise to nearly 40 degrees Celcius. Temperatures this high mean an increased chance of heat-related illness, which can be very serious.

When the mercury rises, seek air conditioned spaces. Don’t exercise outdoors middle of the day. Drink lots of water and be sure your kids do too. Here’s more ways to prevent heat stroke.

Check on neighbours, and in particular the elderly or those with chronic diseases, to make sure everyone is staying cool and hydrated.

And, learn to recognize the signs of heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.



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Heat exhaustion versus heat stroke

Muscle cramping may be the first sign of a heat-related illness, and may lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Learn to recognize the signs:

Heat exhaustion:

heavy sweating
cold, clammy skin
fast, weak pulse
nausea or vomiting

Heat stroke:

high body temperature (+103 degree F)
hot, red, dry or moist skin
rapid and strong pulse
possible unconsciousness

What should you do?

Heat exhaustion:

Stop all activity and move to a cooler location.

Sip water.

Apply cold cloths to your body.

Loosen your clothing.

If you vomit and it continues, seek medical help.


Heat stroke:

Call 911. This is a medical emergency.

Do not drink water.

Move to cooler location.

Remove excess clothing.

Apply cold cloths to the body.


Don’t be fooled! You can get heat-related illness on even on cloudy days. Limit your time outside when it’s hot out. Seek air-conditioned spaces.

Sources: Centre for Disease Control and Prevention,and Mayo Clinic.


About the author


Alexis Dobranowski

Alexis Dobranowski is a Communications Advisor at Sunnybrook.