Emergency advice

Heat exhaustion:

  1. Help them lie down out of the sun and raise their legs.
  2. Give them water to drink.
  3. Advise them to seek medical advice.

What is heat exhaustion?

Long periods in the sun can take its toll after a while and can lead to heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is caused by a loss of salt and water from the body, usually through excessive sweating. It develops slowly and usually happens to people who aren’t used to hot, humid weather. If you’re at a festival and it’s very hot, it’s easy to suffer from heat exhaustion.

Signs and symptoms

How to spot heat exhaustion:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Loss of appetite and feeling sick
  • Sweating with pale clammy skin
  • Cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
  • Fast, weakening pulse and breathing

What to do

  1. Help them to lie down in a cool place and raise their legs.

  2. Give them lots of water to drink or isotonic sports drinks.

  3. Check their breathing, pulse and responsiveness.

  4. Suggest they get medical advice. Call 999/112 if you are concerned. 

Related first aid advice


Dehydration can develop into a more serious condition if left untreated. Find out what to look for and what to do.


Sunburn is caused by over exposure to the sun, or a sunlamp or sunbed. Find out what to look for and what to do.


If someone has heatstroke, your priority is to cool the casualty down as quickly as possible and get them to hospital. Find out what to look for and what to do.

St John Ambulance volunteers providing support