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Heat Stroke—Know the Symptoms and When to Seek Help

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Posted at 12:29 PM, Jul 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-16 14:29:36-04

Summer is all about spending time outside and enjoying the warm weather, but keep in mind that prolonged exposure to the heat can be dangerous. Although heat exhaustion isn’t necessarily as severe as heat stroke, any type of heat-related illness should be treated immediately.

Heat stroke can happen to anyone, even healthy athletes. Exposure to high temperatures combined with dehydration can cause damage to the brain and other organs in the body.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe headache
  • Lack of sweating
  • Red, dry skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shallow breathing
  • Convulsions
  • Unconsciousness

When to seek medical attention:
Heat stroke can occur suddenly and be life threatening, so it is important to call 911 if the person experiences any of these symptoms. Until an emergency unit arrives, follow these steps:

  • Move the person out of the sun into a shady spot or an air conditioned space
  • Apply cool, damp towels or spray the person with cool water
  • Have the person drink cool water or any nonalcoholic, caffeine-free beverage
  • Fan air over the person while wetting their skin