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 8260 Mira Mesa Blvd Suite A San Diego, CA 92126.
While hot summer days can be full of fun and adventure, they also pose an increased risk of heat stroke. As such, it is vital to take necessary precautions when making the most of those hot summer days, including staying hydrated and limiting time spent directly in the sun. At AFC Urgent Care, our doctors will be here for you if you experience heat stroke or any other heat-related illness.
What causes heat stroke?
Heat stroke occurs when a person’s internal body temperature overheats to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) or above. As such, it is most often caused when a person spends extended time outdoors in hot weather without taking necessary precautions, especially if they are also working, exercising, or taking part in an athletic activity while being outside.
With that in mind, some common risk factors of heat stroke include the following:
- Adults aged 65 years and up
- Alcohol consumption
- Chronic illnesses, such as heart or lung disease
- Dehydration or not drinking enough water
- No air conditioning access when indoors
- Sudden increase or exposure to hot weather, which can occur when traveling from a cold to a hot climate
- Use of various medications, including antidepressants, antipsychotics, blood pressure medication, such as vasoconstrictors for low blood pressure, and diuretics
How do you treat heat stroke?
Treatment for heat stroke depends on the severity of the patient’s condition. As such, mild forms of heat stroke, which are also referred to as heat exhaustion, can be treated using intravenous (IV) or oral fluids to treat or prevent dehydration, as well as electrolyte replacement treatment, having the patient lie down flat on their back, and removing the patient to a cold room.
Severe forms of heat stroke are considered life-threatening medical emergencies. As such, they require emergency room treatment. Emergency room treatment of heat stroke involves such things as cooling blankets, evaporation cooling techniques, ice packs, immersion in cold or ice water, as well as medications to prevent or help the patient stop shivering. Mild forms of heat stroke that worsen or do not improve within one hour are also considered medical emergencies and treated as such at an emergency room.
What happens to your body during heat stroke?
During heat stroke, your body overheats, causing reduced blood flow, elevated heart rate, and diminished organ function. The critical organ malfunction that occurs with heat stroke happens when your body stops producing sweat, which is a condition known as anhidrosis. Since your body produces sweat to cool itself down, anhidrosis with heat stroke causes your body’s internal temperature to rise rapidly, leading to further organ malfunctions. As such, when this stage of heat stroke occurs, it is considered a life-threatening medical emergency.
Other things that happen to your body during heat stroke include the following:
- Abdominal and muscle cramps
- Altered mental state, which can include agitation, confusion, delirium, irritability, or loss of consciousness
- Clammy, flushed, and pale skin
- Dark-colored urine, which indicates dehydration
- Diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
- Dizziness or fainting
- Excessive perspiration (heat exhaustion) followed by an abrupt stop in perspiration (heat stroke)
- Extreme fatigue
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Slurred speech
- Throbbing headache
- Weak, racing pulse
What is the difference between heat stroke and sun stroke?
The difference between heat stroke and sun stroke is only in name, as both refer to the same medical condition.
For more information about heat stroke or an appointment with us at AFC Urgent Care, we welcome you to call us or visit our clinic at 8260 Mira Mesa Blvd, Suite A, in San Diego, CA, for a walk-in appointment. We serve patients from Mira Mesa CA, Poway CA, Solana Beach CA, Santee CA, Encinitas CA, Lakeside CA, and El Cajon CA.