Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat illness when the body overheats and cannot cool down. The body cannot take off the excessive heat by sweating because of dehydration and/or humid environment.

Causes / Risk Factors

  • Hot and humid weather
  • Vigorous exercise in hot weather
  • Dehydration
  • Too much direct exposure to the sun
  • Infants, the elderly, athletes, & individuals who work outside

Signs
May start with the following signs of heat exhaustion:

  • Warm, flushed skin
  • Faintness
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Very high fever of 41°C
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Convulsion
  • Unconsciousness

Treatment

  • Emergency measures:
    • Move the person to a shady spot or indoors
    • Have him/her lie down with legs elevated
    • If able to drink liquids, have him/her sip cool water
    • Remove clothing, apply cool water to the skin, & fan the person
    • Apply ice packs to the armpits, wrists, ankles & groin
  • Heat stroke is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY!
    • Bring the patient immediately to the hospital after instituting emergency measures.

Prevention
During very hot and humid weather:

  • Limit the amount of time you spend outdoors.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid tea, coffee, soda, and alcohol.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat & long- sleeved clothing when outdoors.
  • Schedule heavy-duty activities for the beginning or end of the day, when it’s cooler.