Heatstroke isn’t just a condition that football players and race car drivers encounter. It’s a life-threatening situation that can strike anyone.
Heat Strokes, also known as sunstroke, is a standard heat illness and a life-threatening medical emergency resulting from the failure of the body’s heat-regulating system.
When your body temperature rises rapidly, your body’s internal thermostat goes haywire. Your brain gets confused and releases death-triggering chemicals into your bloodstream. If a person experiences a heat stroke, it is crucial to seek immediate medical help to avoid complications and death.
To completely prevent heatstroke, you must know how to manage a heat stroke emergency if it arises. In this article, learn how to tell when a heat stroke emergency is underway and the best recommendations for prevention.
What are the Types of Heat Stroke?
There are two types of heatstroke which are:
Exertional heat stroke occurs due to prolonged engagement in physical activities in hot climatic conditions. This condition mainly occurs to people who are not used to high temperatures.
Non-Exertional or Classic Heatstroke
Non Exertional heatstroke occurs due to underlying medical conditions or aging.
Symptoms of Heat Stroke
Heatstroke puts a strain on your body and manifests symptoms such as a body temperature of 104 degrees or higher or rapid weight loss along with constant fluid loss. Other signs of heat stroke include:
- Flushed, dry, and hot skin
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid and robust pulse that becomes weaker as conditions deteriorate
- Unconsciousness or convulsion
Risk factors for Heat Stroke
Everybody is at risk of developing a heatstroke; however, infants and aged adults are at exceptionally high risk. Aside from these factors, heatstroke can be caused by:
- Medications such as diuretics, sedatives, and tranquilizers
- Underlying medical conditions such as cystic fibrosis and sleep disorder
How common is Heatstroke?
Heatstroke causes approximately 240 deaths each year in America. The CDC reports state-specific heat-related death rates since 1999. In 2014, California had the highest rate at 8.8 deaths per million residents.
The mortality rate of heatstroke can be as high as 80%; however, early diagnosis and treatment may cause a drop in mortality to 10%.
How to Care for a Heat Stroke Patient
It is vital to reduce the body temperature as quickly as possible in treating this condition. Failure to do so could permanently impair brain functioning or even cause death. The following are the steps to treat heatstroke:
- A heat stroke is considered a medical emergency.
- Call 911 before performing first aid measures, or visit our emergency room immediately if you suspect that you’re having a heat stroke.
- Move the victim to a more relaxed environment
- Maintain open airway patency by tilting the victim’s head
- Remove all clothing
- Provide a moist sheet and wrap the victim, or you can use a fan to cool the victim.
- Transport the victim to the hospital’s emergency unit and ensure the cooling process continues en route.
Prevention is the most effective way to combat sunstroke. It is important to wear cool clothes and a hat, keep hydrated, and don’t stay out too long in the sun. Other preventative measures to combat heatstroke include:
- Regular application of sunscreen when engaging in outdoor activities
- Take precaution with medication that causes dehydration.
- Avoid leaving your children in the car in sweltering weather as this is a common cause of heat-related deaths in children.
- Avoid strenuous activities or engaging in physical labor under intense weather conditions.
- Spend a few weeks acclimatizing to a new weather condition. it takes a while for your body to adjust to hot weather
- Seek immediate medical care if you have underlying heart-related problems and are experiencing symptoms of overheating.
- Sweating can cause the body to lose salts and minerals, so be sure to replace them with nonalcoholic fluids. Only take salt tablets when directed by a healthcare professional.
Potential Complication of Heat Stroke
If you experience heatstroke, your condition may progress and cause other complications such as brain swelling, kidney failure, nerve damage, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), or coma.
As you enjoy the warmth of the summer, always keep an eye out for sweltering weather.
If you experience the onset of any of the symptoms of heatstroke, you should seek medical treatment as swiftly as possible.
If prompt treatment occurs, the outlook is good, and a speedy recovery is likely.
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