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Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion

Find information and resources about heat stroke, the symptoms of heat stroke and what to do for someone suffering from heat stroke.

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© Bobbie Jean Peachey

Heatstroke is a medical emergency that occurs when overexposure to heat overwhelms the body’s internal temperature-regulating mechanisms. Consequently, the protective sweating reflex ceases to function. Body temperature subsequently soars to dangerous heights (104°F or above). Unless emergency medical assistance is obtained promptly, shock, coma, brain damage, kidney failure, or even death may result. Health Communities.

What is Heat Stroke?
Heat stroke is a life threatening condition and is a medical emergency. Heat stroke occurs when the body is exposed to an excessive amount of heat and becomes unable dissipate the heat through sweating.

Heat Stroke Symptoms
Symptoms of heat stroke includes among other symptoms:

  • red, hot, and dry skin
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • rapid, shallow breathing
  • seizures
  • unconsciousness
  • If You Suspect Someone Has Heat Stroke

    Call 911.

    While waiting for help:

    1. Get the person to shade or an air conditioned environment
    3. Wet the skin if possible
    3. Fan the person
    4. Apply ice packs (if available) to patient's armpits, groin, neck and back
    5. Call 911 again for any suggestions they could give while awaiting help

    Tips To Prevent Heat Stroke
    Stay indoors during the hottest part of the day if possible, drink plenty of water, and wear lightweight, light colored, loose fitting clothing are just three of the tips to avoid heat stroke.

    Heat Exhaustion
    Heat exhaustion symptoms includes weakness, nausea, headache, and muscle cramps. If not treated heat exhaustion can quickly become heat stroke.

    What NOT To Do For Heat Related Illnesses

  • Do NOT give medications that are used to treat fever.
  • Do NOT give salt tablets.
  • Do NOT give liquids that contain caffeine or alcohol.
  • Do NOT use alcohol rubs on the person's skin.
  • Do Not give anything by mouth if the person is vomiting or unconscious.
  • Do NOT underestimate the seriousness of heat illness, especially if the person is a child, elderly, or injured.
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