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Heat Stroke

What is Heat Stroke?

Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat related illness. Heat stroke is severe injury from high body temperatures that causes damage to many organs, particularly the central nervous system, which include the brain and spinal cord. Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency. Without proper care, heat stroke victims will most likely die.

People with heat stroke are dehydrated and require rehydration. The very young and old are very susceptible to the hazards of heat stroke.

Types of Heat Strokes

There are two main types of heat stroke: external and classic.

Exertional heat stroke
People who have exertional heat stroke are usually people who are exercising in excessively warm conditions. Their bodies cannot manage the stress of the physical activity and the hot environment together.

Classic heat stroke
People with classic heat stroke are usually elderly, very young (infants and toddlers) or debilitated people who are in warm environments for too long. The elderly are especially vulnerable to the heat. Elderly people are more vulnerable to the heat because as the body ages, it is is less able to handle heat and cool itself off.

What are the Symptoms of Heat Stroke?

Some of the most common symptoms are: red, flushed skin, fever (body temperature of 106-degrees or higher), seizures, headache, rapid pulse and unconsciousness.

What causes a Heat Stroke?

Some of the most common causes of heat stroke are: high temperatures, lack of body fluids and overexposure to the elements. Heat Stroke does not have to be caused by exercise or exertion.

What happens during a Heat Stroke?

During a heat stroke, your body is unable to properly cool itself. When it is unable to cool itself, the core body temperature rises rapidly.When the core temperature rises, the brain begins to fail. (The brain can only function in a very narrow temperature range). As the brain overheats, the individual will become disoriented, combative, argumentative and may hallucinate.

How is a Heat Stroke Treated?

The main focus of treatment is to lower the body temperature. Different techniques can be used.

Can a Heat Stroke be Prevented?

Heat stroke, like all heat-related illnesses, is preventable. Some of the ways to prevent heat stroke is stay well hydrated, wear cool clothes, and keep cool.

Stroke Support Groups


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