heat stroke

Heat Stroke: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention and Treatment

In cold weather, we tend to spend more time in the sun. It is very crucial to understand the difference between heat exhaustion and heatstroke. In general, the term “Stroke” describes less flow of oxygen to the brain area. Understanding the symptoms and signs of these can be the savior for your loved ones. It is a form of hyperthermia which means that the temperature of the body elevates with certain physical symptoms such as alterations in the functioning of the nervous system.
It is also referring to as sunstroke. The severe condition is when body temperature is at 104F. One cause of heatstroke is dehydration. A person who is dehydrating may not be able to sweat more to dissipate heat that causes the body temperature to be higher.

Does infants and children suffer from heatstroke?

Along with elders, children can also suffer from heatstroke. When young children or infants are left unattended in the car can suffer from diseases relates to heat because the inside temperature of the car could be harmful in the moderate weather. Many of the infants die due to being bundle overly in their cribs. It is significant for parents to understand the medical dangers associated with leaving kids inside the cars unattended. It must also be taken care of that cars must be kept locked always so that the kids may not enter and get trap when no one is around.

The risk of heatstroke is also higher for athletes who are trained in a hot environment. According to the survey, it was concluded that the majority of cases occur in the football players during the month of August.


The symptom related to heatstroke could be very serious. Muscle-cramping could be the first indication that could be developed due to illnesses relates to heat. In some individuals, symptoms of heatstroke could be notified without any warning.

Some of the times the symptoms of heatstroke could be similar to a heart attack.

Some of the other symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Hallucinations
  • Rapid pulse
  • Strange behavior
  • Agitation
  • Coma

Causes of Heat Stroke

Heatstroke could a result of:

  • Exposure at high temperatures

When a person is at hot temperature there will rise in the core body temperature. This type of heatstroke occurs at exposure to hot and humid weather for longer periods. It occurs mostly in old people.

  • Strenuous activities

When physical activity is performed in hot weather, heatstroke is caused as the body temperature increases. Any person who is working in hot weather could face exertional heatstroke.

  • Alcohol consumption

By consuming alcohol, your body’s ability to regulate temperature can be affected.

  • Staying dehydrated

If you are not drinking sufficient water to replenish fluids that are lost by sweating, you can face heatstroke.

How to prevent the body from heatstroke?

The basic way to prevent your body from illnesses related to heat is to keep the temperature of your body cooler. This is very significant when you work or perform certain activities in the heat.

Below are certain tips for prevention:

  • You must drink two to three glasses of water after every hour when you are doing any activity in the direct sun to stay hydrated. You lose more fluids as you sweat so the body requires more water than usual.
  • When the temperature is too high, you must try to perform the activities inside the air-conditioned environment.
  • Avoid such beverages that contain alcohol or caffeinated drinks if you are performing any strenuous activities in the heat. The intake of caffeine enhances the risks of dehydration.
  • Wear light-weighted, loose, and light-colored clothes whenever you are performing activities in the sun. You can also wear a hat that protects the face from direct sun rays.
  • While exercising or working in the sun take frequent breaks.
  • To keep yourself cool down, you can take showers or cooler baths.
  • Try not to leave children or pets in a closed parked car. The temperature inside the car becomes very hot that can cause heatstroke.

How to Diagnose

If you have a doubt that you are having heat stroke then you must seek medical attention. Your doctor will diagnose whether you are suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke based on your symptoms. However, they can recommend going for certain tests to diagnose:

  • Tests for muscle function could be performed.
  • A blood test could be conducted to analyze potassium or sodium level to determine whether you are dehydrated.
  • The dark yellow color of urine is a symptom of dehydration, a sample of your urine could be taken.
  • Tests for kidney functioning could be conducted.
  • To analyze any internal organ damage, X-rays, and imaging tests could be done.

Treatment for Heat Stroke – First Aid

To avoid any permanent organ damage, the victim of heat stroke must receive instant treatment.

  • Take the victim to the cool area, remove clothing, and apply cold water on skin. Place ice packs or cubes under the armpits area.
  • If the person is able to consume liquids, give them cool water or other cold beverages. Make sure that the drinks do not contain caffeine or alcohol. You may also drink sports drinks to rehydrate your body as the sports drinks consist of enough electrolytes that the body loses by excessive sweating.
  • Analyze the temperature of the body and keep continuing cooling the body till the temperature drops to 101 F.
  • You can also call your local emergency services if you suspect that you are having symptoms of heatstroke.


One must plan the activities to be done in hot weather accordingly that will reduce the risks of health-related illnesses.

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