What's a heat stroke and how can you treat it?

Heat stroke is also known as sunstroke. Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency which requires immediate attention. It occurs mostly in the very young, or the elderly with health problemsWorking or exercising in hot weather or hot conditions without drinking the necessary amounts of fluids is the main cause of heat stroke.

Symptoms of heat stroke:

  • having trouble keeping up with the rest and complaining of dizziness

  • extremely high core temperature of up to 41°C (106°F)

  • hot, red, dry skin

  • muscle cramps

  • rapid pulse

  • rapid, shallow breathing

  • headache

  • confusion, strange behavior

  • possible fainting, but can be revived

Heat stroke symptoms and Treatments

Proper way to treat heat stroke:

High core temperatures damage the internal organs, especially the brain. The loss of bodily fluids can also produce dangerously low blood pressure.  If you suspect someone has heat stroke, begin treating him/her immediately:

  • First, call 911 or your local emergency number.
  • You must do everything possible to cool the heat stroke victim immediately. Immerse the victim in cold water. 

  • The best way is to remove them from the sun, immerse the body in cold water, such as a river, stream, or bathtub.

  • Otherwise, remove most of their clothes, douse them with water, and fan them vigorously.

  • Wrapping in wet sheets can help the body lose heat more quickly.

  • If the person is conscious and alert, offer the individual water or other fluids. 

  • Avoid caffeine or alcoholic drinks because they dehydrate the body. 

  • The heat stroke victim should also be put in a cool place. Lay them down and give small sips of liquid every few minutes.

  • "Sports" drinks (with no caffeine) are best, but water is often more readily available.

  • You should watch carefully for signs of deterioration, but there is no need to rush to a hospital for a normal case of heat stroke.