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Heat Stroke (cont.)

Heat Stroke Symptoms and Signs

Patient Comments
  • Heat stroke usually follows two other heat-related problems, heat cramps and heat exhaustion; these two conditions are marked by muscle cramps followed by exhaustion and profuse sweating.
  • As these conditions progress of heat cramps and heat exhaustion progress, a rapid pulse, rapid breathing, dizziness, and headache may occur.
  • These symptoms may linger and progress to heat stroke when the body temperature reaches 104 F or 40 C or 105 F and 40.5 C in children, and the body stops sweating.
  • In addition to stopping sweating, the skin of a person suffering from a heat stroke is hot and dry, and sometimes becomes a reddish color.
  • Stroke-like symptoms occur in heat stroke. Confusion, hallucinations, seizures, loss of consciousness, organ damage, coma, and death can occur if not treated quickly and effectively; mental status changes help differentiate heat exhaustion from heat stroke.

When to Call the Doctor for Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a medical emergency; any signs or symptoms of this condition should prompt a call to emergency services (911). Meanwhile, immediately begin first aid by cooling the person – move them to shade or an air conditioned building, remove constricting or clothing layers, and cool the person with evaporative cooling (mist or spray water on the patient while fans are running). Some experts recommend placing ice packs or wet towels to the head, neck, armpits, and groin.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/19/2015

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