The difference between heat exhaustion and heat stroke

Heat illnesses are no joke, as they send lots of people to the emergency room, but just how bad is it?

As it turns out, there are different kinds of heat-related illnesses: heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

In the most severe cases -- heatstroke -- they can be fatal.

Dr. Jeff Stowell of Maricopa Integrated Health System has seen heat exhaustion plenty of times.

"As patients are exposed to heat for long time their body temp rises develop cramps and fatigue more consistent with heat exhaustion," said Dr. Stowell.

Heatstroke sets in, when a person's body temperature rises over 104°F (40°C), and it's more serious.

"As patient's body temp rises higher they get heatstroke," said Dr. Stowell. "Changes in mental status, confusion, headaches, blurry vision or become unresponsive."

Some people know how to handle the heat, like Sam Carmean, who played golf Monday morning.

"I drink a ton of water all day long, everyday," said Carmean. "As long as you are smart. Don't drink a bunch of coffee, soda. It usually isn't a problem for me."

Victor Hall grew up in the Valley, and he knows the drill.

"Summertime, I am from here, it doesn't bother me," said Hall. "I am from Phoenix, played basketball in this my whole life. So this doesn't bother me and I've got to exercise."

You can enjoy the outdoors, but do it early in the day. To guard against heat-related illness, when you're out in the heat, wear light loose clothes, put on sunscreen, drink lots of water before you go out, wear a big floppy hat, and stay in the shade.

And if it helps, think cool thoughts.

Heat-Related Illness Information by the CDC

Heatstroke Information by the Mayo Clinic

Heat Exhaustion Information by the Mayo Clinic