How do you know if you have heat stroke?
Heat stroke is a serious condition that is caused by your body overheating, typically from physical exertion in high temperatures, or prolonged exposure to high temperatures. Heat stroke is most common in the summer months, when the temperature gets hot. If left untreated, damage can be done to the kidneys, muscles, heart and brain, which can result in serious complications or even death. Heat stroke can be recognized as some of the following symptoms found after exposure to high temperatures. The main sign of heat stroke will be a core temperature of 104F(40C), or higher, obtained using a thermometer. Strange behavior can also be a sign of heat stroke, in the form of confusion, slurred speech, agitation, irritability, delirium and in severe cases seizures and coma. Feeling nauseous or vomiting is also a sign of heat stroke. Flushed skin, rapid breathing, a racing heart rate and headache are also signs of heat stroke.
How long does it take to recover from heat stroke?
Recovery from heat stroke is dependent on the severity of the case, how quickly medical attention was received and if there was any internal damage. Heat stroke can take a few days to recover from, with many patients returning to normal after a couple of days. Extreme cases of heat stroke can take several months to recover from, particularly if there was damage to the internal organs. Your doctor, or the doctor examining you at the clinic or urgent care, may want you to stay in the hospital for a day or two to be monitored for any additional complications that could arise as you start to recover. Re-hydration, cooling off and rest are key to recovery from heat stroke and getting the body back to its normal state needs to start immediately upon the suspicion of heat stroke in an individual.
Can a doctor treat a child’s heat stroke?
Yes, doctors can absolutely treat heat stroke in children. It is of vital importance that heat stroke not go undiagnosed and untreated as it can cause many complications with the internal organs. Doctors will treat children in much the same way as adults for heat stroke, starting with lowering the core body temperature. This can be done through cold water immersion, evaporation cooling techniques, packing in special cooling blankets and muscle relaxants to prevent shivering as the body cools. Our natural instinct is to shiver to warm us up, but this can actually increase the body’s internal temperature. The cooling process can be started at home and continued on the way to the hospital to help bring the child’s core temperature down to a normal level but muscle relaxants should only be administered under the care of a qualified medical doctor.
How to prevent heat stroke?
Heat stroke is easily prevented by protecting your body against the heat. Keeping your clothing loose-fitting and lightweight will ensure that the body is able to properly cool down. Protect yourself from getting a sunburn using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 and wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Ensure you are drinking plenty of fluids to keep yourself hydrated as sweat is used to naturally maintain a normal body temperature. Try to avoid being out for prolonged periods of time, or performing exercises outside, particularly during the hottest hours of the day. If you must be out, stay hydrated and rest in cool, shaded spots. If you are new to the heat, give your body time to get used to it before spending too much time outside or trying to exercise outdoors when it’s hot. Be aware of any health risks or medication risks you could have as they relate to the heat. It will be especially important to monitor yourself for any symptoms of heat stroke to ensure you get immediate medical attention.