Identifying Heat Stroke and Treatment
A heat stroke occurs when the body is extremely overheated from high temperatures, usually because of dehydration.
Not only is it classified as hyperthermia, it is the most dangerous form of heat injury, and experiencing one can have negative permanent effects on the brain, and can kill or damage other internal organs.
How is it caused?
Heat exhaustion occurs from the body getting too hot and symptoms including those like heat stroke. Heat stroke can be the result of heat exhaustion if not treated and symptoms are much more extreme.
It's exactly how it sounds, "heat" from extreme temperatures of the sun (104 degrees and higher is dangerous) and "stroke" meaning, a lack of oxygen flow to the brain, the body is unable to cool itself so please be mindful of your geographical heat index, especially when in unfamiliar warmer climates.
In order to identify a heat stroke, you must do a quick analysis of you or the person's body temperature including signs and symptoms. If you are in the state of mind to do so, alert emergency services as soon as possible.
Often times, age has a lot to do with it. People between ages 0-4 and 65+ are even more vulnerable due to their slow ability to adjust to heat as quickly as others.
The following includes a list of symptoms that someone experiencing a heat stroke would exhibit:
- Body temperature of 104 or higher
- Hot skin, little to no sweat
- Red, or dry skin
- Nausea or vomiting
- Feeling lightheaded, faint, or unconscious
- Shallow breathing
- Rapid or slow heartbeat
For the most part, a heat stroke can be avoided by ensuring you and your friends and family are properly hydrated especially during the summer. Water is essential for our daily living, and avoiding it can cause long-term problems.
You can do simple things like:
- Apply sunscreen of SPF 30 and higher.
- Wear loose light clothing and brimmed hat. Exclude black as wearing black colors attracts the sun.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated including sports drinks to relish electrolytes.
- Pay attention to the daily heat index, which is different than the temperature outside. Download a head index weather app to your phone or check the weather before leaving the house.
However, if you do find yourself in this situation immediately do the following:
- Get yourself or friend into a cool dry place or out of the sun to immediately bring down body temperature.
- Take off any extra clothing, as much as possible in order to cool down body temperature.
- Lay down with legs elevated so that blood can flow properly to your heart.
To regulate body temperature, apply cold towels around heat sensitive areas such as the forehead, neck, and upper back. (If you cannot grab a towel and in a public restroom use a shirt, or paper towels.
If you don't see any changes, call 911 immediately.