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How To Treat Heat Stroke in an Emergency

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Heat stroke is a potentially fatal form of hyperthermia, or a high body temperature, that usually occurs in hot and humid climates.

It can be caused by being in a hot environment for an extended period of time or by strenuous physical activity. Learning how to treat heat stroke could literally save your life.

Heat stroke may be exacerbated by dehydration, alcohol consumption, or a person wearing too much clothing as this prevents sweat from effectively evaporating and cooling the body.

Heat stroke usually affects infants and the elderly, but young adults can suffer from it as well. Because I have 2 kids, I took a course to learn first aid.

I feel it is my duty to look after my family in every way possible. In an emergency situation you are very likely to suffer from heat stroke, so learn how to treat it, it could save you and your family members.

What Should You Do If You Suspect Heat Stroke?

Girl cooling her head off with a bottle of cold water

First, try a quick assessment. Here’s what to look for:

  • body temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit (or higher)
  • an altered mental state
  • altered behavior
  • hot and dry skin since the victim isn’t sweating properly
  • flushed skin
  • rapid breathing
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • an elevated heart rate
  • headache
  • seizure

If the person is exhibiting these symptoms, call for emergency medical help immediately.

How To Treat Heat Stroke At Home

As mentioned before, heat stroke has potentially deadly effects. However, there are things you can do in the meantime to help the patient while EMS is on their way.

First, take any measures you can to make the victim comfortable and cool their body temperature.

This includes:

  • laying them down on their back with feet elevated above the level of their head; (indoors or in a cool or shaded area is best)
  • putting them in a tub of room temperature or tepid water (just be sure to remove them from the water when the body temperature drops to 102 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • applying ice packs to bodily “hot spots”: the groin, underarms, palms, soles of feet, back of neck, and/or the head
  • you can also cover them with a wet sheet
  • remove their clothing if it’s appropriate.
  • next, give them something cool (not too cold, and no ice!) to sip; water or an electrolyte-replenishing sports drink such as Gatorade or Powerade are your best options. Here’s how to purify water in SHTF situations.

A word of caution: don’t try to drop the body temperature too quickly as this may cause the person to go into shock. So please, don’t immerse them in cold water or give them a drink with ice in it.

Also, if it’s possible, keep monitoring the patient’s body temperature and don’t let them faint. If the victim does happen to faint, check their airway and administer CPR if it’s appropriate.

Great book on first aid I recommend:

The Survival Medicine Handbook
  • Joseph Alton (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 588 Pages - 06/13/2013 (Publication Date) - Doom...

How to treat heat stroke video

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