Heat Stroke is a life-threatening condition that occurs when your body overheats. Your body can’t cool itself if your internal temperature is too high. The most obvious sign of heat stroke is an extremely high body temperature (fever). But other symptoms include confusion, nausea, and a lack of sweat. When your body can’t cool itself, the heat eventually damages your brain or other vital organs. Without treatment, heat stroke can cause death.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
Heat stroke, also known as sunstroke, is a potentially fatal condition caused by the failure of the body to regulate its temperature, Heat stroke can occur when the temperature and humidity are very high and the sweating mechanism is overwhelmed and fails, resulting in the body’s temperature rising to dangerous levels. Symptoms vary depending on the temperature and humidity of the environment but may include
- Loss of consciousness
- Body temperature greater than 106 °F or 41 °C.
Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency that requires rapid cooling of the body core to prevent brain damage and multiple organ failure.
How to Treat Heat Stroke?
- Move the affected person to a cooler area.
- Gently remove any clothing covering the affected area.
- Fan air toward the affected area.
- Apply ice packs to the head, neck, chest, and groin.
- Allow the victim to drink cool water if alert.
- Immediately take him to a bathtub filled with cool water. Soak the person with water for 20 minutes. Take him to the hospital.
- Immediately bring the victim inside and into the air conditioning or a cool room.
- Remove any excess clothing and cover him or her with a blanket. Have the person lie on a folded, cool, wet towel in the recovery position.
- The person should be warned not to drink alcohol, exercise, or take hot showers or baths for at least 24 hours.
- Any sports drinks or Coca-Cola should be replaced with water.
- Caution needs to be exercised in case of dehydration, it is important to administer proper rehydration. Dehydration can lead to heat stroke.
- The doctor will give the person intravenous liquids to control the fever and prevent kidney damage.
- The doctor will also give the person medications to prevent swelling and excessive bleeding in the brain.
How life-threatening are heat strokes and why?
Heat Stroke (HS) is caused by the failure to control core body temperature in the heat. HS is life-threatening because the body temperature rises to a point that the brain and other vital organs are damaged. The core body temperature can rise even higher after HS. The higher body temperature will start a chain reaction that can culminate in multi-system failure, shock, and death. The most severe problem during HS is the elevation in the brain temperature. The brain is unable to regulate its own temperature. It relies on an internal mechanism, called the hypothalamic heat control center, to regulate the core body temperature. This center senses the core body temperature and the blood temperature and responds by increasing the blood flow sent to the brain, increasing the sweating, and slowing the metabolism. If the sweating is inadequate to lower the blood temperature, and the temperature rises above the point where the brain can be damaged, then a variety of neurologic changes will start to occur.