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Heat Stroke First Aid

Heat Stroke First Aid

Every year, hundreds of people die as a result of heat stroke, so knowing heat stroke first aid and heat stroke recovery tips is very important. And yet, despite being a serious condition, not a lot of people are aware of what causes heat stroke, as well as how to deal with it.

In the Philippines, the hot and humid climate can cause heat exhaustion, even when indoors. As summer days see an incline in temperature, people are encouraged to take the necessary precautions as it takes around 8 to 10 for a person to get used to the summer weather.

Dehydration: Applying First Aid

What is Heat Stroke?

Heat stroke is a condition that happens when your body starts to overheat due to overexposure to intense heat or physical exertion in higher temperatures. This is because the human body can only handle so much heat, and in very high temperatures, the body can no longer keep itself cool.

Heat stroke is different from heat exhaustion in that heat stroke is a much more serious condition. However, heat exhaustion can sometimes progress into heat stroke if not handled immediately.

Heat stroke is life-threatening because high temperatures can damage vital organs, especially your brain. This is why the body tries to keep itself at a constant temperature. Too much heat or too much cold can affect how the body functions, and are equally dangerous.

Another thing to remember about heat stroke is that it can happen to anyone, even a healthy person.

However, the elderly and very young children are especially at risk of suffering from heat stroke because their bodies do not adjust well to sudden changes in temperature.

In the Philippines, the risk of heat stroke is especially high since it is a tropical country. This is why during summertime, it is advisable to try and stay cool as much as possible to avoid heat stroke from occurring.

heat stroke first aid

Who are at Risk of Heat Stroke?

Here are some situations that can put a person at risk of heat stroke:

  • Playing outside for a long time while the sun is at its peak
  • Doing strenuous work in a warm place
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Living in a home without ventilation
  • Living in a place with a very warm climate
  • Working in a very hot place without any ventilation
  • The elderly and very young children are also at risk

What are the Symptoms of Heat Stroke?

Aside from knowing the right heat stroke first aid and heat stroke recovery steps, it is also important to know the symptoms of heat stroke.

Here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • A very high fever of around 40 C or greater
  • Confusion, slurred speech, feeling aggressive or agitated
  • Loss of consciousness for longer than a few seconds
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Skin that is hot, red, and dry
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Sweating that has stopped
  • Headache
  • Rapid breathing
  • A very fast heart rate

heat stroke first aid

Heat Stroke First Aid Tips

First off it is important to know that heat stroke is a medical emergency. Treatment in a hospital is still required even if you provide the right heat stroke first aid. This is because if a person does not go through heat stroke recovery properly, they could suffer from long-term effects.

So the very first thing that you need to do would be to call for help. While you are waiting, you can do the following heat stroke first aid steps:

  • Take the person to a cool place. If you are outdoors, take them indoors.
  • Try to take off any unnecessary clothing. Make sure that clothing is loose and that air can circulate to their skin.
  • Put the person on their side in order to expose their body to as much air as possible.
  • Spray cold water on the person, and try to fan them to keep them cool.
  • Ice packs or cold towels can also help, but be sure to avoid placing ice packs directly on the skin. Place these on the armpits, neck, and groin.
  • If the person is conscious, you can give them cool, but not very cold water to drink. Cold water can cause stomach cramps.

By following these steps, you can help prevent heat stroke from getting worse, and potentially save a life.

How Can You Prevent Heat Stroke?

Here are some useful tips when it comes to preventing heat stroke:

  • When working outside or in hot places, be sure to wear cool clothing.
  • Keep yourself hydrated as much as possible.
  • Wear loose fitting and breathable clothing.
  • Try to stay in the shade or in a cool place as much as possible.
  • Avoid staying in places without proper ventilation.
  • Sudden changes in temperature should be avoided.
  • If you feel any symptoms of heat stroke, be sure to try and cool down.

Remember, heat stroke is a serious condition. It should not be taken lightly, and it would be a good idea to try and avoid being exposed to too much heat in the first place.

By remembering these tips, you can ensure that you and your loved ones are safe, and are not at risk of suffering from this condition.

Learn more about Healthy Habits and other First Aid here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources
Emergency First Aid for Heatstroke, https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/Pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=tw3250spec, Accessed August 27 2020 Emergency First Aid for Heatstroke | HealthLink BC, https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/tw3250spec#:~:text=Cool%20the%20person's%20entire%20body,moderate%20to%20severe%20difficulty%20breathing., Accessed August 27 2020 Heatstroke: First aid - Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-heatstroke/basics/art-20056655, Accessed August 27 2020 Heatstroke -  Symptoms & First Aid Advice | St John Ambulance, https://www.sja.org.uk/get-advice/first-aid-advice/effects-of-heat-and-cold/heatstroke/, Accessed August 27 2020 Emergency First Aid for Heatstroke | CS Mott Children's Hospital | Michigan Medicine, https://www.mottchildren.org/health-library/tw3250spec, Accessed August 27 2020
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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Sep 24, 2020
Medically reviewed by Mia Dacumos, M.D.