HeatStroke - Health Center


By Refadoc, Posted on : Tuesday, 15 September 2015 - 10:46 am IST

HeatStroke - Overview

Summers in India can be ruthless and quite intolerable. The cases of people suffering from Heatstroke tend to increase drastically with the overbearing temperature. Heatstroke is known to occur due to overexposure towards high temperatures or when a person indulges in hard physical activity during hot weather. The condition of heatstroke arises when the body temperature of a person exceeds 104F or 40 C.

Some of the major reasons for the occurrence of heatstroke are humidity, persistent health problems as well as intake of some medications.

Heatstroke generally can be termed as the progression and worsening of the heat related conditions of the body. With the excessive overheating of the body, a person first develops cramps due to heat and in case there is no available means for cooling down, this may lead to heat exhaustion. The symptoms of the same may come out to be heavy, excessive sweating, nausea and even light headedness.

At a point when a person is suffering from heatstroke, immediate attention and care of required. In case this condition is left untreated, it could lead to extensive damage to the brain, heart, kidneys as well as muscles of the body. Since these injuries tend to get worse with the passage of time, it could lead towards serious complications and even death in some of the rare cases.

Major Symptoms of Heatstroke

Some of the major symptoms of heatstroke are as follows:

  • Increase in the body temperature: The body temperature exceeds and reaches around 104 F.
  • Lack of sweating: Since heatstroke is brought in by the hot weather, the skin; upon touching feels dry and hot.
  • Nauseous : the person feels sick and often vomits
  • Flushing of the skin, as it may turn red due to the increase in the body temperature.
  • Increased, rapid as well as shallow breathing
  • Racing up of the heart rate with the sudden increase in the pulse of the body due to the heat.
  • Throbbing headache from time to time.
  • Increased confusion, which means that the patient has problem in speaking or understanding what others are saying
  • Muscle cramps and other weakness, with the tenderness of the joints

Upon witnessing any of the above mentioned symptoms, it is recommended that a person should move to a shady place, away from the direct sunlight and should remove all the excessive clothing.

Also, if ice packs are available they should be provided to the person along with damp towels on the head and neck region.

Causative Factors for Heatstroke

The reason for the occurrence of heatstroke is very simple – heat.

Some of the major reasons for the occurrence of heat stroke are as follows:

  • Overexposure towards heat: When a person is exposed towards heat, he develops a condition known as non exertion heatstroke. This condition is basically caused due to the rise in the body temperature of the person, without the use of any physical activity. This kind of heatstroke is known to occur in regions where there are long periods of excessive heat and humidity prevalent. People who are old and are suffering from chronic illnesses are more prone to this kind of heatstroke.
  • Strenuous Activity: In this kind of a heatstroke, the rise in the temperature of the body is caused due to the exertion as well as excessive physical activity by the person in hot weather. Any person who exercises or works very hard physically in hot weather is known to suffer from this kind of a heatstroke.
  • Apart from this, some of the other factors that are known to cause heatstroke is people are :
  • Wearing of tight and excessive clothing is known to cause heatstroke as it does not allow the sweat from evaporation and thus, prevents the cooling of the body.
  • Consumption of alcohol too is known to affect the ability of the body to regulate the temperature.

 A person suffering from dehydration too is known to suffer from heatstroke as body needs the replenishment of the water from time to time.

Complications Arising from Heatstroke

Shock is one of the possible outcomes of heatstroke. This is condition which results from the loss of the blood flow within the body. Some of the major symptoms of shock can include the dipping in the blood pressure suddenly, blueness of the lips and nails as well as a cool and clammy skin.

If a person is not provided with immediate medical help when in a state of shock, there can be great damage to his life and there are chances for the occurrence of death as well. In response to the shock, the organs of the body may swell up and this damage to the body could be permanent.

Diagnosis of Heatstroke

Doctors are usually able to diagnose heat stroke once they see the patient. However, in some of the cases,

some major tests are conducted in order to determine the condition.

  • Blood Test: This is done in order to check the blood for the lack of sodium and potassium. The lack of any one of these is the major sign for the damage to the central nervous system of the body.
  • Urine Test: These are conducted to check the kidney function of the body; which is impaired with heatstroke. A person suffering from heatstroke tends to have a darker colour of the urine.
  • Muscle function tests are conducted to check the person for rhabdomyolysis.
  • X rays are also conducted for checking the damage to the internal body organs.

Treatment and Drugs for heatstroke

The major treatment for heatstroke tends to aim at cooling the body back to the normal body temperature in order to reduce and prevent the damage to the internal body organs.

Some of the major treatments for heatstroke are:

  • Immerse yourself in water: this is done to cool down the body temperature of the person drastically.
  • Using evaporation techniques: This is done again to reduce the body temperature of the affected person. In this cold water is misted on the skin of the patient gently along with the combination of fanning of the warm air all over the body leading to the evaporation of the water and cooling of the skin.
  • Ice and cold blankets: In this the person is wrapped with ice and cooling blankets around the major regions such as the groin, neck, back as well as the armpits in order to bring down the temperature of the body.
  • Medications: in case during the many ways of cooling down the body temperatures, the person shivers, then doctors tend to provide them with medicines such as the muscle relaxers, which increase the temperature of the body for a little while.

Prevention of Heatstroke

Some of the simple ways in which the prevention of heatstroke is done are as follows:

  • Make sure that you are wearing light, loose fitting as well as cotton clothes when you step out.
  • Make sure that your intake of fluids is increased considerably.
  • Take extra precautions while taking some of the medications, which tend to decrease the hydration level of your body.
  • Never leave children in a parked car as it becomes overheated and increases the chances of a person suffering from heatstroke.
  • Avoid going out on the hottest days
  • Be cautious if you feel that you are at an increased rate of suffering from heatstroke.


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