Heat stroke is the least common and most serious of the 3 types of heat emergencies. It occurs when the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion are ignored. When the body can no longer cool itself it gradually stops working resulting in a rapid rise in temperature. Eventually, vital organs such as the brain and kidneys cease to function.
Signs and Symptoms of Heat Stroke
- Elevated body temperature often as high as 106 degrees fahrenheit.
- Irritable, bizarre, or combative behavior.
- Sweating may stop - this is not a good sign.
- Severe headache.
- Red, hot dry skin especially in the elderly.
- Rapid, weak pulse becoming irregular.
- Rapid, shallow breathing.
- Progressive loss of consciousness.
First Aid for Heat Stroke
- Remove the person from the heat source.
- Place in recovery position.
- Contact EMS immediately.
- Monitor and treat ABCs.
- Remove sweaty clothing.
- Fan or otherwise gently cool skin perhaps with cool towels or ice packs.
- Do not douse with cold water - this may cause shock.
- Do not place the person in a tub of water is this may make it hard to maintain an open airway.
- At this point it is too late to give fluids by mouth as it may induce vomiting.