Heat stroke is common in summer. Here’s what you need to know about it.

Heat stroke occurs when the body loses the ability to regulate heat. As a result, the body gets severely over heated. If left untreated, this can result in death within minutes. Heat exhaustion may progress to heat stroke if left untreated.

Who are at risk?

Infants and the elderly. In the latter case, those suffering from heart, lung or kidney diseases and those who take medication that makes them vulnerable to dehydration and heat strokes are most at risk.

Athletes and those exposed to high temperatures.

Symptoms

High temperature >104°F or more

Confusion, disorientation, and agitation

Increased and rapid pulse

Difficulty in breathing

Sweating

Do’s

Move the person to the coolest area possible at once and switch on the fan or ACs.

Call the emergency medical service.

Pour water directly over the patient to ensure rapid cooling.

Apply cold compress or ice pack (under arms, groin and neck area).

Apply wet and cold towels/cloth to the whole body.

When possible, immerse the person in cold water but keep the head out of the water.

Check responsiveness and breathing.

If the patient is conscious, give sports drink or lemon juice with salt and sugar.

If the patient is unconscious but is breathing, put him in the recovery position to maintain an open airway. Be prepared to give CPR if he stops breathing.

Continue these measures while going to hospital.

Don’ts

Do not give any hot drinks or stimulants.

Do not give anything to eat or drink if the patient is unconscious or drowsy/semi-conscious as he may choke.

Extract from Medical Emergency Handbook, VIVO Healthcare, Rs.199. To buy the book, contact VIVO Healthcare, DLF City Club, DLF City Phase 4, Gurgaon 122009. Ph: +91-124-4365848 +91-8860004734. E-mail: enquiry@vivohealthcare.com or info@vivohealthcare.com

The third part in the series on handling common medical emergencies.

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