A heatstroke occurs when you're exposed to extremely hot conditions and your body overheats, isn't able to cool down and fails to control or regulate your body temperature properly. This is referred to as the "classic" heatstroke.
"Exertional" heatstroke happens when you perform intense or vigorous physical activity and your body overheats during exercise.
Heat exhaustion, on the other hand, is your body's response to excessive loss of water and salt – usually through excessive sweating. This condition is most likely to affect people with high blood pressure, the elderly, and those working in hot environments.
To help you or someone else get the proper assistance and support they need to save their life, be on the lookout for the following signs and symptoms:
Keep in mind that these symptoms can vary depending on the type of heatstroke you have.
With classic heatstroke, the skin may appear more hot and dry, while exertional heatstroke can cause prolonged and excessive sweating after exercise stops.
It is essential to seek out medical care as soon as possible if you experience heatstroke symptoms or notice someone else that may be displaying signs of a heatstroke.
Factors that can make you more vulnerable to developing heat-related illnesses, such as heatstroke, include:
If you suspect heatstroke, call 911 or your local emergency number.
If you're the first responder to someone having a heatstroke, your primary goals are to move the person out of the heat right away and stabilize his/her vital signs like body temperature, pulse or heart rate, and breathing or respiratory rate.
Cool the person by whatever means available. Remove excess clothing to maximize heat loss from the body. (Related: How to stay cool if you lose power during a heatwave.)
If the person is conscious, offer chilled water, a sports drink containing electrolytes or other nonalcoholic beverages without caffeine.
You may also fan the person while sponging or spraying him/her with cool water; place ice packs or cool wet towels on the neck, armpits, groin and back to help the body cool down quicker; and cover the person with cool damp sheets.
Begin CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) if the person loses consciousness and shows no signs of circulation, such as breathing, coughing or movement. Wait for the Emergency Medical Team (EMT).
Depending on the severity of the condition, the healthcare provider may also recommend the following techniques when you or a heatstroke patient are at the hospital:
Here are some tips and measures to take that may help prevent heatstroke – especially during hotter seasons or when engaging in physical activity:
Your prognosis (or outlook) for heatstroke will depend on a variety of factors, including your age, underlying conditions, how high your temperature rose, and how quickly you sought treatment from a healthcare provider.
As a rule of thumb, taking preventative measures on hot days and removing yourself from hot conditions as soon as possible can improve your chance of survival. The longer you wait without receiving care, the more serious your condition can become.
It's important to note that once you recover from heatstroke, you should take a rest and avoid physical activity and hot conditions for at least one week.
Once you experience heatstroke, you are also at an increased risk of experiencing another heat-related illness. That said, have regular check-ups and take precautionary measures to reduce your risk.
Watch this video to learn about surviving the heat.
This video is from the Cahlen channel on Brighteon.com.