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Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a potentially fatal condition. Heat stroke develops when the body’s systems are so overwhelmed by heat, they stop functioning.

Sweating stops because the body’s fluid levels are low. When sweating stops, the body cannot cool itself effectively causing the body temperature to rise. The temperature, soon reaches a level at which the brain and other vital organs, such as the heart and kidneys begin to fail. If the body is not cooled, convulsions, unconsciousness and death will occur.

Signs and Symptoms

Heat stroke is a serious medical emergency. The signs of heat stroke include:

  • High body temperature ( often as high as 40 degrees C) 
  • Red, hot, dry skin 
  • Deteriorating conscious level 
  • Rapid pulse, gradually weakening 
  • Vomiting 
  • Collapse and seizures 
  • Coma – death

First aid management

  • Move the casualty to a shaded area 
  • Remove any unnecessary clothing 
  • Cool the casualty by sponging with water 
  • Give small sips of clear fluids 
  • Seek urgent medical attention 

Overexposure to Heat

Heat related conditions are those conditions brought on by exposure to high temperatures and humidity. The most spectacular example of a serious heat related problem occurs in long distance running events, which are conducted during hot and humid conditions.

Overexposure to heat can easily occur in workers who work in the direct sun such as construction workers, landscape gardeners etc. Overexposure to heat may induce heat cramps, heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke

What should you do?

We all respond to emergencies in different ways.

Whether trained or untrained, some of us are afraid we will do the wrong thing and make the situation worse.

If you are unsure about what to do, call for an ambulance.

The worst thing to do is to do nothing.