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First Aid for Heatstroke : Symptoms, Causes & How to prevent

Team AckoJan 17, 2024

Heatstroke, commonly referred to as sunstroke, is a heat-related disease. It happens when your body temperature suddenly increases, and you cannot cool down. Heat sickness ensues when the body temperature increases over a safe level and heat cramps are the first symptom of it. This can endanger your life by causing damage to your brain and other essential organs. It might be caused by vigorous exercise in the heat or being in a hot environment for an extended period. Read on to learn all about Heatstrokes and their first aid management.




What are the causes of Heatstroke?

Heatstroke is the most severe type of heat damage and is treated as a medical emergency. It frequently develops due to fewer heat-related ailments. It can, however, strike even if you have no history of heat injury. This illness is caused by prolonged exposure to high temperatures, frequently in conjunction with dehydration, which causes the body's temperature-regulating mechanism to fail.

What are the signs and symptoms of a Heatstroke?

Heatstroke can develop without any preceding heat-related disorder, such as heat fatigue. The following are the indications and symptoms of this illness.

  • High fever

  • Fainting/loss of consciousness-often the first symptom to show up

  • Confusion, agitation, and slurred speech 

  • Excessive perspiration

  • Vomiting and nausea

  • Skin that is flushed out

  • A quick pulse

  • Breathing quickly

  • Headache

  • Fainting

  • Seizure/Coma

Heatstrokes vs. other heat-related conditions

Heatstroke, the most severe type of heat disease, can be distinguished from less severe conditions by comparing the person's symptoms. The following are examples of less extreme kinds of heat illness:

  • Painful muscular cramps characterise heat cramps (e.g., in the legs, arms, belly, or back), excessive sweating, and overall weakness/lightheadedness.

  • Heat exhaustion causes nausea, lightheadedness, and thirst. The individual may act erratically, have dilated pupils (bigger than usual pupils), be excessively sweating, or have cool and wet skin that is either reddish or pallid.

What are the risks associated with Heatstroke?

Heatstroke can be fatal or severely injure the brain and other vital organs.

  • It is prevalent in older persons who live in flats or houses without air conditioning or excellent circulation. Although Heatstroke primarily affects persons over the age of 50, it can also harm robust young athletes. 

  • People of any age who do not drink enough water, have chronic conditions, or use large amounts of alcohol are also in danger. 

  • If you reside in a city, you are more likely to suffer from this illness during a lengthy heat wave.

Emergency management of Heatstroke

Suppose efforts to cool down and rehydrate are not taken at the initial stages of a Heatstroke. In that case, a more severe stage of heat sickness, heat exhaustion, can arise quickly, culminating in a potentially life-threatening condition.

  • Call your local emergency number if you suspect Heatstroke. Then get the victim out of the heat as soon as possible. Move the person to an air-conditioned setting or, at the very least, a cool, shaded location, and remove any tight clothes. 

  • Cool the individual down by either of these means: Place the individual in a cold tub of water or a cool shower, spray the individual with a garden hose, sponge the individual with water, fan the individual while sprinkling with freezing water, apply cold, moist towels or ice packs to the neck, armpits, and groyne, wrap the victim with cool, damp linens.

  • If the individual is awake, provide cooled water, an electrolyte-containing sports drink, or another nonalcoholic beverage without caffeine.

  • If the victim loses consciousness and has no circulation symptoms, such as breathing, coughing, or movement, begin CPR.

  • If the person is young and healthy and had a Heatstroke while aggressively exercising – a condition known as exertional Heatstroke – an ice bath can assist in chilling the body.

Can you prevent a Heatstroke?

It is advisable to stay in an air-conditioned place when the heat index is high. If you must go outside, take the following precautions: 

  1. Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting clothes and a hat with a broad brim.

  2. Use sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher sunscreen.

  3. Drink plenty of fluids. It is typically suggested that you drink at least eight glasses of water, fruit juice, or vegetable juice daily to avoid dehydration.

  4. When exercising or working outside, take extra measures to prevent dehydration and direct sun exposure.

  5. Outdoor activities should be rescheduled or cancelled. If feasible, spend your time outside during the coolest parts of the day, such as an early morning or after sunset.

  6. Caffeine and alcohol-containing fluids should be avoided since both might cause you to lose more fluids and increase heat-related sickness.

Feeling unwell while working in the heat is a major red flag. Any employee who reports feeling ill while working in hot settings may suffer heat exhaustion, which can swiftly proceed to Heatstroke.

Proper assistance for someone suspected of heat exhaustion or Heatstroke entails cooling the body as rapidly as possible rather than merely drinking water. If workers exhibit heat exhaustion or Heatstroke symptoms, do not leave them alone until medical help is obtained. People suffering from acute heat sickness are not usually aware of the dangers they are in.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here is a list of commonly asked questions on Heatstroke.


What exactly is Heatstroke?

Heatstroke happens when a person becomes so hot that the brain's thermostat fails, causing the body to dangerously overheat. It is an emergency that requires immediate medical attention.

What should you do if someone suffers from Heatstroke?

Call emergency medical service. Remove outer garments and quickly relocate them into a cool location. Wrap the sufferer loosely in chilly, damp cloths or a sheet. Pour cold water over the sheet or garments continuously. If you don't have a sheet, you may fan them or sponge them with cold water. Keep them calm while you wait for assistance. You can stop if their temperature returns to normal and they no longer feel hot to the touch.

What are three techniques to avoid Heatstroke?

Three ways to avoid a Heatstroke are:

  • Wear appropriate clothing: Wear light, loose-fitting clothes.

  • Stay cool indoors: As much as possible stay in an air-conditioned environment.

  • Plan your outdoor activities carefully: Limit your outside activities to the coolest times of the day, such as the morning and evening.

What happens if you don't cure Heatstroke?

Heat exhaustion, if left untreated, can develop into Heatstroke, a potentially fatal disease that happens when your core body temperature hits 104 F (40 C) or higher. Heatstroke necessitates prompt medical treatment to avoid lasting brain and other essential organ damage, which can end in death.

Heatstroke affects which organs?

Heatstroke can cause temporary or permanent damage to critical organs such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver. The higher the temperature, especially when higher than 106° F (41° C), the more rapidly problems develop.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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