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Heat stroke
By Charlotte Cooper…read more

Slide 2

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What is Heatstroke?
· Heatstroke
There areis a condition
different in which
kinds the body becomes overheated in
of heatstroke:
a relatively short space of time.
· classic heatstroke (also called sunstroke: a little
· This can be a life-threatening condition, requiring urgent medical
attention. Somebecause
soldiers the condition
on training havecan
died arise without
from this the
direct effect of the sun) when, typically, the skin is
· Heatstroke occurs when the body cannot dispose of excess heat in
flushed, red and dry
the normal way.
· heatstroke caused by exertion, which often occurs in
· In severe cases, temperatures can exceed 40 C.
conjunction with physical activity, eg sports activity
· Significant physical exertion on a very hot day can generate heat
· in extensive
beyond a healthburns
body's (including sunburn),
ability to cool where
itself, because thethe sweat
heat and
glands have
humidity been damaged
of the environment or the
reduces destroyed
efficiency of the body's
· normal cooling of
in a number mechanisms.
less common medical conditions, such as
· Other factors, such
overactivity of theasthyroid
drinking gland
too little water, can cause the
condition.…read more

Slide 3

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How can you tell?
· Heatstroke and fever can be distinguished as
· fever, in which the body's mechanism for
regulating temperature is functioning and set at a
higher level. The patient is, typically, flushed and
bathed in sweat.
· primary hyperthermia- where temperature
regulation is either partially or totally out of
action. The patient often sweats only a little or
not at all, and the skin is flushed red, hot and
dry.…read more

Slide 4

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When does heatstroke become critical?
· Body temperature around 41°C (measured in the rectum).
· You feel increasingly unwell, tired and dizzy, and your head may
hurt and you may feel 'distant'.
· You may feel cold, despite the heat and this a very worrying
· If your skin becomes flushed red and dry (ie perspiration is reduced
or not functioning).
· You produce less urine, which is of a dark yellowish colour (which
indicates a shortage of fluid).
· You become less alert, with a tendency to faint, and experience
confusion, impairment or loss of consciousness and convulsions.
· At temperatures above 41°C the situation starts to be serious. At
temperatures above 42°C cell damage to the brain, liver, kidneys
and skeletal muscle often occurs as well as bleeding disorders.…read more

Slide 5

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Who is particularly at risk of
suffering heatstroke?
· Elderly and often weak or fragile people with a low fluid
· People who are overweight.
· People with cardiovascular or lung diseases.
· People taking certain types of medication, such as
anticholinergics (which prevent sweat production) and
beta-blockers (which reduce the blood circulation to the
· Infants and small children.
· Pregnant women (particularly if their fluid or salt levels
are low).
· People under the influence of alcohol.
· People who play a lot of sport without taking sensible
precautions, such as drinking plenty of fluids or who
wear non-breathing clothes inappropriate to the activity.…read more

Slide 6

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How would you treat someone?
·· If
a persontreatment
suffers from heatstroke, it's important to put them in
· the shade is
Treatment and preferably
aimed in a the
at reducing cool environment
patient's (ideally anto
core temperature air-
conditioned room as
normal as quickly at possible.
a temperature of 15 to 18°C).
·· The
The patient
doctor mayshould
use be undressed,
immersion, with sensitivity,
evaporative, or covered
or invasive cooling only
by a thin sheet.
·· If
technique, rises to ice
cold or 39.5°C
packs and
may the
be skin is in
placed still
and burning hot (or with only very slight sweating), they should
armpits or groin. The skin is kept moist with cool fluid, and fans are
be showered with cool water (15 to 18°C). You can also put the
person intoablow
of cool the body.
water, while massaging the skin to
· increase
An IV willcirculation.
be started and fluids possibility
Another are given rapidly.
is to cover the patient
· with wet sheets
The patient's or output
urine towelling, changing
will be them often, preferably in
· combination
Treatment will with an electric
continue fan,
until the or something
patient's body coresimilar, to bring
temperature is
the temperature
101.3-102.2°F further down.
(38.5-39°C) and then stopped to keep from making the
· Do not use
patient water cooler than 15°C because this will restrict heat
too cold.
loss because the blood vessels in the skin will contract.
· The patient most likely be admitted to the hospital for further blood
· If possible,
tests the patient should be taken to a doctor, or better still a
and observation.
hospital, as soon as possible. A person with heatstroke often
needs oxygen, a drip (fluid infusion into a vein) and sometimes
medication.…read more


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