What is a heat stroke?
A heat stroke or sun stroke is the most serious consequence of excessive heat. A heat stroke is the elevation of body temperature above normal (between 39.4 and 41 ° C) for periods from 10 to 15 minutes.
Consequences of a heat stroke
This situation can cause serious damage to the body since many body organs stop functioning properly to these high temperatures. The brain is specially sensitive, so that if heat exhaustion is not treated quickly, can severely damage it. The kidneys can also be greatly affected.
Whom does heat stroke can mainly affect to?
Although heat stroke can affect all of us if we do not take the suitable measures, there are some population groups whom it can mostly affect:
- Children: This type of problem often occurs with young children who are exposed to sunlight for long without the suitable head protection because their capacity to sweat is lower than that of grown up people.
- Elderly people, because they have a lower hydration that the young
- People doing great physical effort who lose lots of water (workers in full sun, sporting activities on very hot days, etc.).
- People who take certain medications such as anti-hypertensive, since such a type of drugs decreases sweating.
Symptoms of a heat stroke
Among the major symptoms of a heat stroke, we could include the following:
- Excessive sweating at first with subsequent lack of sweating
- Flushing and dryness of the skin
- Fever with body temperature above 39.4 º C , (Coming to 40 and 41 º C)
- Inappropriate behavior
- Rapid heartbeat with weak pulse
Causes of a heat stroke
Among the main causes of a heat stroke we can consider:
- Excessive heat, especially when combined with high humidity. It is easier to suffer from a sunstroke near the coast than inland, although the thermometer dial offers the same temperature in both places.
- Drinking little: Sweating or perspiration is necessary to eliminate body heat. Sweating profusely is needed for the body to be well hydrated. Drinking water and other fluids in hot weather is a way of ensuring perspiration.
- Dehydration: Lack of fluids in the body can be caused by excessive sweating without adequate fluid intake or because of the presence of certain diseases such as diarrhea, vomiting, fever, uncontrolled diabetes, etc. (More information about dehydration in the listing above)
- Too much hard activities in hot days: This can easily affect workers or athletes undergoing a too high effort on very hot days.
- A sudden wave of high heat: The body needs a few days to get used to the temperature changes. When heat waves occur in an unexpected and abrupt way, they often have worse consequences because the body has no time to adapt to these changes.
What to do to people suffering a heat stroke?
We should take into account the following steps:
- Put the affected person in a cool shady place. We must avoid the affected person to be exposed to the sun any longer so that his/her body temperature could not go down or rise even more. It is convenient to put his/her feet on an elevated position.
- Call appropriate emergency telephone number .
- Try to decrease her/his body temperature: Meanwhile, undress the affected person and try to slow down his/her body temperature by means of applying a wet cloth or ice in the armpits or crotches
- Move the affected person, whenever possible, to places where there is air conditioning or a fan.
- With temperatures above 40 º C, you should bathe him/her with cold water to try to lower his/her temperature to 38 º C, at which point you should stop applying cold, to avoid hypothermia.
- Check every now and then his/her body temperature and, if it goes up, apply more cold treatments.
More information on too much heat and its natural treatment.