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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home First Aid and Emergency Heat stroke

Heat stroke

Heat stroke is a form of hyperthermia caused due to abnormal elevation of the body temperature. It is an acute emergency medical condition. It is extremely fatal if untreated.


Heat strokes occur mainly in infants, elderly, those who work out doors and in athletes. Heat stroke is an advanced stage of hyperthermia. Heat stroke is diagnostic if the body temperature is more that 41 degrees or 106 degree F with neurological symptoms.

The diagnostic criteria for heat stroke are temperature more than 41 degrees, absence of sweating and altered sensorium.

Types of Heat stroke

Classic heat stroke or non exertional heat stroke: It is characterized by hyperthermia, absence of sweating and altered sensorium. It occurs after period of prolonged elevations in ambient temperatures.

Exertional heatstroke is featured by high body temperature, diaphoresis and altered sensorium which occur after extreme physical exertion in hot climate.

Signs and symptoms of heat stroke

  • Extreme fatigue.
  • Weakness.
  • Nausea.
  • Increased body temperature
  • Headache.
  • Giddiness.
  • Change in behavior.
  • Muscle cramps
  • Absence of sweating
  • Red, hot, dry skin.
  • Increased pulse rate.
  • Breathlessness.
  • Confusion.
  • Agitation.
  • Seizure.
  • Coma

Treatment of heat stroke

  • The affected person should be brought to shady area.
  • Remove the clothes and cool water is applied to bring down the temperature.
  • Ice packs should be kept under armpits and groin.
  • Body temperatures should be checked.
  • The patient is immersed in cool bath tub.
  • Take plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

Prevention of heat stroke

  • Avoid dehydration
  • Avoid vigorous physical activities in hot and humid weather.
  • Drink lot of plenty of fluids while working outdoors and avoid alcohol, caffeine and tea which may cause dehydration.
  • Take breaks in between and hydrate to prevent heatstroke.
  • Wear hat, light colored and light weight loose cloth while outside.