Heat stroke is a type of hyperthermia that causes the body to drop in temperature at a dramatic rate. It is considered a medical emergency and without proper treatment, could turn out to be a fatal condition. The most important step to treating heatstroke is keeping the victim cooled until emergency assistance arrives. There are ways to prevent heatstroke which will be listed below. Outdoor workers, athletes, infants, and elderly are at the highest risk for developing heatstroke.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of heatstroke are often similar to those of someone having a heart attack or other serious medical condition. Heat exhaustion and related symptoms is often experienced shortly before getting heatstroke. The most common signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion are nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, headache, dizziness, muscle cramps and aches, and abdominal pain. The symptoms are usually gradual though some people experience them suddenly and without much warning. Heat exhaustion can quickly turn into heat stroke, with symptoms like difficulty breathing, strange behavior, hallucinations, rapid pulse, absence of sweating with hot or flushed skin, high body temperature, confusion, agitation, disorientation, seizure, and possibly coma.
How to Treat Heatstroke
It should be noted first of all, that anyone with heatstroke needs to get emergency help. If you think someone has heatstroke, call 911 immediately. Until emergency help arrives, you can help them by moving them to a shady area. Remove excess clothing and apply cool water to their skin. This can be done with a spray bottle, garden hose, or anything else you have access to. Promote sweating by fanning them and place ice packs under their armpits and in their groin area. See if they are able to drink cool water or other cool drinks, though avoid anything with alcohol or caffeine. Monitor their body temperature watching to see if their temperature drops below 103 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Prevent Heatstroke
Being in extreme hot conditions without proper clothing, protection from the sun, or water to avoid dehydration can cause heat exhaustion and heatstroke. To avoid heatstroke, first be sure you find shade whenever possible. Stay hydrated with plenty of water if you will be out in extremely hot weather conditions, especially if you will be doing physical activity such as fitness or working. Avoid activities if you can, otherwise drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Wear loose-fitted, lightweight and light-colored clothing and keep shades and cooled off as much as possible.