What is Heat Stroke

What is Heat Stroke

Human body is equipped to regulate its own temperature.When heat stroke happens, the body is unable to do so and the body temperature rises which is a life threatening emergency.

Sweat is the natural cooling mechanism of our body. But, in hot, humid weather sweat stops serving the purpose. The surrounding air is already warm and heavy with humidity, and it cannot absorb extra heat and sweat. Consequently, the body begins to warm up, and the heart begins to pump more blood to the skin to release extra heat.

In heat stroke victims can either stop sweating or sweat profusely. Still, in both the cases, our bodies produce more heat than it can lose which raises our body temperature to dangerous levels. Severe dehydration can occur and body organs can stop fuctioning, which can be life threatening.


  • Elevated core body temperature above 40.5°C/105°F
  • Lack of sweating
  • Mental changes – confusion, delirium, or unconsciousness
  • Red hot flushed skin
  • Fast pulse

Babies less than two, older adults, and people with chronic health problems, alcoholics and people doing drugs have the greatest risk of of heatstroke.


  • Stay well hydrated in summer to keep heat stroke at bay.
  • Wear loose fitting cotton clothes.
  • Do not leave your child or pet in an airconditioned car even if you are stopping for five minutes to run an errand. Once you turn off the ignition the cool interiors become heated furnace in no time.
  • Wear sunscreen when outdoors.
  • Take an umbrella or wear a broad rimmed hat in sun.
  • Limit outdoor exercise.

The only solution for heat stroke is to cool the person down. You can:

  • Try to get the person to drink water if the person is conscious.
  • Soak the person’s entire body in cool water.
  • Sponge cool water onto the person’s body.
  • Apply ice packs to the head, neck, armpits and groin.

If not treated, heat stroke can be fatal in less than an hour.

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