Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a much more serious illness than heat exhaustion. It is caused by an increase in the body's core temperature due to overexposure to extreme heat and a breakdown in the body's heat-regulating mechanisms. During a heat stroke, your body's sweat glands shut down and an emergency condition is immediately created. Without immediate attention, the situation may lead to death or permanent disability.

Chronic conditions such as diabetes, use of alcohol, and vomiting or diarrhea can put children and adults at risk for a heat stroke during very hot weather. In children, heat stroke is generally attributed to not drinking enough fluids.

A heat stroke victim can die quickly, so don't wait for medical help to arrive before beginning assistance -- assist immediately.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Hot skin is the key to identifying heat stroke   
  • Pale skin   
  • High body temperature (104 Degrees F or higher)   
  • No sweating   
  • Rapid heartbeat   
  • Increased respiratory rate   
  • Decreased urine output   
  • Confusion, disorientation   
  • Convulsions   
  • Loss of consciousness   
  • Pupils may be dilated and unresponsive to light

Treatment:

Seek professional emergency medical attention immediately. However, you will need to take action before the professional medical personnel arrive.

  • Move to a cooler environment and remove outer clothing   
  • Apply cool, wet towels to the extremities or pour water over them   
  • Fan to increase air flow   
  • Massage extremities vigorously to propel the cooled blood back into the core   
  • Get medical assistance as soon as possible   
  • After the temperature has been reduce to 102 degrees, active cooling should be reduced to avoid hypothermia. Monitor temperature to be sure it doesn't begin rising again.   
  • Begin replacing fluids   
  • Provide basic life support. CPR is necessary

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