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Heat Stroke is the most severe of the heat-related illnesses. It often results from exercise or heavy work in hot environments combined with inadequate fluid intake. It is the second largest cause of death in athletes preceded by head and neck injuries.

Those most prone to heat stroke are young children, the elderly, people who are obese. Other risk factors include dehydration, alcohol use, cardiovascular disease and certain medications.

What makes heatstroke severe and potentially life-threatening is that the body's normal mechanisms for dealing with heat stress, such as sweating and temperature control is the hypothalamus which is blown at the temperatures that cause heat stroke.

Heat stroke must be attended to within 60 seconds of happening. The brain core temperature must be reduced by wrapping the head in very cold towels or towels filled with crushed ice. This cannot be stressed enough, the core temperature of the brain MUST be lowered or brain damage WILL occur.

The body must also be cooled by applying cold towels.

Signs of heat stroke:

Week, rapid or slow pulse

Rapid and shallow breathing

Elevated or lowered blood pressure

Sweating is common but might not be present

Irritability, confusion, disorientation, delirium or unconsciousness

Feeling dizzy or lightheaded

Inappropriate language

Poor judgment, belligerent




If you suspect heatstroke:

Move the person out of the sun and into a shady or air-conditioned space.

Cool the head with cold towels or towels wrapped with crushed ice.

Call the first responder and tell them that the person is showing signs of an ALTERED MENTAL STATE.

Dial 911 and tell them that the person is showing signs of an ALTERED MENTAL STATE.

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