Preventing Heat Stroke

July 27, 2015

Scott M. Evans, PA-C

Now that we’ll be experiencing the heat and humidity of summer, it is very important to understand the symptoms of heat stroke and how to prevent it. Heat stroke is a very serious and potentially dangerous injury that requires medical attention immediately.

Heat stroke is the most severe of a group of heat-related illness including heat cramps and heat exhaustion. The definition of heat stroke is a core body temperature that reaches 105 degree Fahrenheit or higher combined with central nervous system breakdown.

Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Here are some of the signs and symptoms of heat stroke that you need to be aware of:

  • At the beginning stage of heat stroke the skin can became warm to touch, however once the body’s central nervous system is involved, the skin can feel cool and clammy.
  • Hot, red skin is one of the most common signs of heat stroke. If your skin is hot to the touch and you have an internal body temperature of 105 degrees or higher you need to get medical attention.
  • Dizziness, fainting and confusion are the next most common symptoms of heat stroke.
  • Nausea with or without vomiting – especially combined with dizziness – are other indications that heat exhaustion has progressed into heat stroke.
  • If your heart feels different or ‘funny’, you may be experiencing tachycardia (heart rate above 100 beats per minute).  Tachycardia must be addressed before returning to activity.
  • One of the differences between heat exhaustion and full-blown heat stroke is a lack of sweating. If you’re suffering from heat stroke, you will not sweat.
  • You may experience a severe headache or even have a seizure.

Preventing Heat Stroke

Prevention of heat stroke is easy if you are proactive:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Take breaks often
  • Avoid activity from 11:30am-2:30pm
  • Wear breathable clothing
In poor air quality and high temperatures, avoid outdoor activity