What is heat stroke? And how to manage it ?
In particular, infants or young children who are unattended in a locked car may suffer heat-related illness quickly, since the indoor temperature of a locked car can rise to dangerous levels even in moderate weather. Among older children and teens, heat stroke or heat-related illness is a risk for athletes who train in hot environmental conditions. Among reported heat-related illnesses in U.S. high school athletes, the majority of cases occur in football players during the month of August.
Heat exhaustion is an early sign of heat stroke, which is caused by physical activity in a hot environment that can overwhelm the body’s ability to cool itself or living in a hot environment without adequate access to water. Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include profuse sweating, nausea, vomiting, headache, muscle cramps, weakness and lightheadedness. When the body is no longer able to cool itself, heat exhaustion may progress to heat stroke.
Heat stroke is a most serious form of heat injury caused by your body overheating due to prolonged exposure to physical activity, wearing excess clothing, drinking too much alcohol, or becoming dehydrated in high temperatures (40°C). The condition is most common in the summer months and requires emergency treatment. Untreated heat stroke can quickly damage your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. The damage worsens the longer treatment is delayed, increasing your risk of serious complications or death.
Common symptoms and signs of heat stroke include, high body temperature, the absence of sweating, with hot red or flushed dry skin, rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, strange behavior, hallucinations, confusion, agitation, disorientation, seizure, and/or coma.
If you think a person may be experiencing heat stroke, seek immediate medical help. Call your local emergency services number.
Steps to manage, while waiting for emergency treatment:
Get the victim to a shady area, remove clothing, apply cool or tepid water to the skin (for example, you may spray the person with cool water from a garden hose), fan the victim to promote sweating and evaporation, and place ice packs under the armpits and groin. If the person is able to drink liquids, have them drink cool water or other cool beverages that do not contain alcohol or caffeine. Monitor body temperature with a thermometer and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101 to 102 F (38.3°C to 38.8°C). Always notify emergency services immediately. If their arrival is delayed, they can give you further instructions for treatment of the victim.
Heatstroke – Symptoms and causes, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heat-stroke/symptoms-causes/syc-20353581)
11 Heat Stroke Symptoms & Signs, 4 First Treatment & Prevention, https://www.medicinenet.com/heat_stroke/article.htm
By Madhvi Tandel (IEH Health Officer, London)