What Causes Heat Stroke?


A heat stroke is mainly the harshest form of any heat related illness, when this occurs the temperature of the body will be higher than 41.1oC or (106oF). Most times this can be linked to neurological dysfunction. All this is however, very different than fever, as with fever there is only a physiological increase in the normal temperature set point of the body. Heat stroke is thus a very serious medical condition and must be responded to urgently, for the body systemic way of cooling the body has stop working and the core temperature will rise to dangerous levels.
Heat strokes often times develop very rapidly. Persons that have medical conditions or take medications that impair the body’s natural ability to sweat are predispose to this kind of problem. Infants and the elderly are at a greater risk of having this problem: 1) because they are bed riddled 2) because medication such as antihistamine and certain types of medication for high blood pressure or depression may enhance heat stroke.


A heat stroke may have occurred from the following two ways

  1. This is the classic situation which occurs when a person cooling system mechanism are damaged.
  2. This is the exertion form where normal healthy persons who are exercising or just going under strenuous activity in a hot environment. Their bodies cannot manage the stress of physical activity and the hot environment together.

If you find that someone is unconscious or has a markedly irregular mental status, dizziness, looks or talks confusedly, hallucinating or in a state of coma. The person may be suffering from heat stroke. When the blood pressure of the person is tested, at first, the result is slightly elevated but when they are tested later it becomes low. The person is then experiencing heat stroke. Heat stroke is a medical emergency and medical assistance must be sought. Do not attempt to treat the signs and symptoms of heat stroke at home as the condition may worsen. CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY!


If the person is conscious give them some cool water to drink. Then move them to a cooler environment, or place the person in a cool bath and attend to them continuously. Use a bath rag to alternatively moisten the entire body with tap water. A fan can be use to blow cool air across the skin.
Medical treatment will be directed at cooling the patient in a controlled approach while making sure that the patient stays well hydrated and that their blood flow is regular. In doing this the patient’s core temperature will be reduce to normal as quickly as possible. The patient urine output will also be monitored.

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