Heat Stroke Treatment Questions and Answers
Heat Stroke can be severe and dangerous and is very common during the hot summer months. Taking precautionary methods to ensure heat stroke doesn’t occur can help. If you do have signs or symptoms of heat stroke, please visit our urgent care today! We are located at 3710 Clemson Blvd Anderson, SC 29621. Call us now or book an appointment.
What causes heat stroke?
Heatstroke is a condition caused by the overheating of your body, usually due to physical exertion or prolonged exposure to high temperatures. Heatstroke is the most severe form of heat injury and can occur if your body temperature rises to 104 F (40 C) or higher. The condition usually occurs in the summer months.
Heatstroke can occur as a result of:
- Exposure to a hot environment: In a type of heatstroke, called non-exertional or classic heatstroke, being in a desirable climate results in a rise in core body temperature. This type of heatstroke generally occurs after exposure to hot and humid weather, especially for a prolonged period-of-time. It occurs most commonly in older adults or people with chronic illnesses.
- Strenuous activity: Exertional heatstroke is another type of heatstroke caused by an increase in body temperature due to intense physical activity in hot weather. Anyone exercising or working out in hot weather can get exertional heatstroke, but it is most likely to occur if you are not used to high temperatures.
In either type of heatstroke, your condition can be caused by:
- Wearing excess clothing, which prevents sweat from evaporating easily.
- Drinking alcohol, which can affect the body’s ability to regulate temperature.
- Becoming dehydrated as a result of not drinking enough water to replenish body fluids lost through sweating.
How do you treat heatstroke?
Heatstroke, depending on the severity, can be treated at home, or at urgent care, or ER. Always consult with a medical professional with how you are feeling but know that heatstroke is serious and requires attention. Heatstroke treatment focuses on cooling the body to an average temperature to prevent or reduce damage to the brain and other vital organs. To do this, a doctor may take these steps:
- Immerse you in cold water: A bath of ice-cold water has been proven to be the most effective way of quickly lowering core body temperature. The quicker you receive cold water immersion, the less is the risk of death and organ damage.
- Use evaporation cooling techniques: If cold water immersion is not available, health care workers should try to lower your body temperature using an evaporation method. Cool water is misted on your body, and warm air is fanned over you. This causes the water to evaporate and thereby cool your skin.
- Pack you with ice and cooling blankets: Another method is to wrap you in a special cooling blanket and apply ice packs to the groin, neck, back, and armpits to lower body temperature.
- Give you medications to stop your shivering: If treatments to lower your temperature make you shiver, your doctor can give you a muscle relaxant, such as a benzodiazepine. Shivering increases your body temperature, thus making treatment less effective.
Home treatments, normally is enough for heatstroke depending on the severity. However, always consult a health care professional when you suspect yourself or family member having heat stroke. While waiting for health care advise, take necessary steps to cool off.
If you notice any signs of heat-related illness, lower your body temperature to prevent your condition from progressing to heat stroke. In a lesser heat emergency, like heat cramps or heat exhaustion, follow the following steps to lower your body temperature:
- Get to a shady or air-conditioned place: If you do not have air conditioning at home, go to an area with air conditioning, such as a mall or a public library.
- Cool off with damp sheets and a fan: If you are with someone experiencing heat-related symptoms, cool the person down by covering him/her with wet sheets or spraying cool water—direct air onto the person with a fan.
- Take a cool shower or bath: If you are outdoors and not near a shelter, soaking in a pond or a stream can help bring your body temperature down.
- Rehydrate: Drink plenty of fluids. Also, since you lose salt through sweating, you can replenish your salt and water with some sports drinks. If your doctor has restricted your fluid or salt intake, check with them to see how much water you should drink and whether or not you should replace salt.
- Don’t drink sugary or alcoholic beverages to rehydrate: These drinks can interfere with your body’s ability to control your temperature. Also, icy beverages can cause stomach cramps.
Should I go to an Urgent Care or Emergency for heatstroke?
Heatstroke requires treatment on an urgent basis. Untreated heatstroke can damage your heart, brain, kidneys, and muscles quickly. The more you avoid treatment, the more the damage worsens, thus increasing your risk of serious complications or death. A heat stroke depending on severity is considered a medical or urgent emergency. You should contact American Family Care – Urgent Care, or, if needed, an emergency room immediately if you suspect that you are experiencing a heat stroke, especially if you have become nauseated. American Family Care – Urgent Care and our team of leading healthcare professionals are here to help to treat heatstroke, so you are in good hands with our experienced team. We strongly suggest that anyone suffering from heatstroke contact us or visit us – we are here to help treat heatstroke. If you are experiencing an emergency, then we advise you to call 9/11 right away.
What is the difference that I need to know between heat stroke and sunstroke?
Heatstroke and sunstroke are similar conditions. Sunstroke is a case of heatstroke when you’ve developed it by being in the sun. Sunstroke and heat stroke happen when your body’s internal temperature goes above 40 C or 104 F. If this happens due to sun exposure, it is called a sunstroke; otherwise, it is a heat stroke.
If you have heatstroke or sunstroke and need medical attention, then we encourage you to contact us through our website and book an appointment. We offer high-quality urgent care in our neighborhood. Register with us and let us help get your health in check! We serve the surrounding areas of Anderson, Easley, Clemson, Boiling Springs, Duncan, Greenwood, and Powdersville.