Search:
 
 
   
Expand Window Full Screen
Other Names:
Heat Stroke
Sunstroke

Heat stroke occurs when the body is unable to regulate its temperature. The body's temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.

Recognizing Heat Stroke

Warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include the following:

  • An extremely high body temperature (above 103F, orally)
  • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness

What to Do

If you see any of these signs, you may be dealing with a life-threatening emergency. Have someone call for immediate medical assistance while you begin cooling the victim.  Do the following:

  • Get the victim to a shady area.

  • Cool the victim rapidly using whatever methods you can. For example, immerse the victim in a tub of cool water; place the person in a cool shower; spray the victim with cool water from a garden hose; sponge  the person with cool water; or if the humidity is low, wrap the victim in a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously.

  • Monitor body temperature, and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102F.

  • If emergency medical personnel are delayed, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.

  • Do not give the victim alcohol to drink.

  • Get medical assistance as soon as possible.

Sometimes a victim's muscles will begin to twitch uncontrollably as a result of heat stroke. If this happens, keep the victim from injuring himself, but do not place any object in the mouth and do not give fluids. If there is vomiting, make sure the airway remains open by turning the victim on his or her side.

Return to top Return to top

Sunstroke