How To Treat Heatstroke

Everyday Illnesses Common Remedies
How to Treat Heat Exhaustion And Heatstroke

There are 2 main types of heat emergencies which are categorized by increasing severity: heat exhaustion and heatstroke. People who exercise or otherwise exert themselves too much during hot, humid weather may suffer from heat exhaustion or from even more serious heatstroke. Both conditions can lead to unconsciousness, and both require medical treatment. Profuse sweating on a hot day depletes the body of vital fluids and minerals. If they are not replaced, muscles will cramp and the sufferer will feel a general weakness. Those most vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat include the very young and the very old, the chronically ill, the overweight, and patients on certain drugs.

Heat Exhaustion

The symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
• Dizziness
• Headache
• Fatigue
• Nausea
• Body temperature stays normal or rises very slightly
• Skin feels moist
• Face looks pale
• Breathing is fast and shallow and the pulse is fast and weak.
The condition is made worse if the person has recently suffered diarrhea or vomiting, causing the body to lose even greater amounts of fluid.


Heatstroke occurs suddenly and dramatically, with body temperature rising to 40°C (104°F) or higher, often with a rapid, strong pulse.
• The skin feels hot and may also be dry.
• At first, the person may complain of headache, dizziness or nausea
• Later, as the condition becomes worse, there may be confusion and irritability.
• Some people have a seizure or lose consciousness.

How To Treat Heat Exhaustion

• Place the person in a cool area, preferably indoors.
• Give them a drink of cold (not iced) salted water (1/4 teaspoon of salt to a cup of water), juice or a sports or glucose drink.
• If the person passes out, check airway, breathing and circulation, and begin artificial respiration if necessary. Also call for medical help.

How To Treat Heat Stroke

Call for medical help immediately you notice any symptoms of heatstroke. Without quick treatment, a heatstroke casualty may die. In the meantime:
• Move the person to a cool place.
• Remove as much clothing as possible.
• Sponge the face and cover the body with a wet sheet or spray it with cool water.
• Keep the person wet and cool with cold water and by fanning until the body temperature comes down to normal. Do not induce shivering.
• If the person loses consciousness, check the airway, breathing and circulation and, if necessary, begin to administer artificial respiration.
• Continue to give cooling treatment until help arrives.

What Not To Do

Do not underestimate the seriousness of illness resulting from heat, especially in the elderly and young.
Do not give the person medications like aspirin or paracetamol, they may hinder rather than help.
Do not give the salt tables.
Do not give the person anything by mouth (a drink) if they are unconscious or vomiting.
Do not give them a drink containing caffeine (such as colas) or alcohol.

When To Call For Help

• If the person loses consciousness
• If the person becomes confused or has seizures
• If a fever over 102F develops
• Other symptoms of heatstroke are present
• There is no improvement in the person's condition.

Other First Aid Treatments

How to treat burns and scalds: Fast and immediate tips.
How to treat someone with electric shock: Be aware of your own safety.
How to stop someone choking: Back slapping technique and abdominal thrusts.
How to treat seizures: Children and adults.
How to treat sunburn: Home remedies.
How to treat someone in shock: Treating severe shock as an emergency.
How to stop someone bleeding: Fast acting treatments.

• Other health issues? See: How to treat common illnesses.

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