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 7101 US Hwy 19 N Pinellas Park, FL 33781.
While the summertime is a widely loved time of the year, it comes with an increased risk of heat stroke for individuals who spend extended time outdoors on hot days. As such, it is important to take precautions when spending time outside during the summertime to avoid heat stroke, including staying hydrated and limiting time spent directly in the sun. At AFC Urgent Care in Pinellas Park, FL, we are here for you if you experience heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or another heat-related illness.
What causes heat stroke?
The primary cause of heat stroke is prolonged exposure or strenuous physical activity in a hot environment, leading to dehydration and overheating of your body. Consequently, individuals who are wearing excess clothing, drinking alcohol, or not drinking enough water while spending long periods outside on a hot day, whether they are physically active or not, are at higher risk of experiencing heat stroke.
In addition to alcohol consumption, wearing excess clothing, or not drinking enough water, some other risk factors of heat stroke include the following:
- Chronic illnesses, including heart or lung disease
- Lack of access to air conditioning
- Individuals who are aged 65 and older
- Particular medications, including certain antidepressants, antipsychotics, blood pressure medications, or diuretics
- Sudden increase or exposure to hot weather, such as flying from a cold climate to a hot one
How do you treat heat stroke?
With heat stroke, treatment varies according to the severity of the patient’s condition. Consequently, milder forms of heat stroke, often referred to as heat exhaustion, typically involve the administration of intravenous (IV) or oral fluids to prevent or treat dehydration, as well as electrolyte replacement, having the patient lie down flat on their back, and removing the patient to a cold room. For severe heat stroke or if symptoms of mild heat stroke get worse or do not improve within an hour, patients typically require emergency room treatment, which could involve cooling blankets, evaporation cooling techniques, ice packs, immersion in cold or ice water, as well as medications to help the patient stop shivering.
What happens to your body during heat stroke?
When heat stroke occurs, your body becomes unable to control or regulate its temperature, a process known as thermoregulation. Once the body reaches an internal temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) or higher, it begins to overheat, slowing down blood flow, elevating your heart rate, and diminishing organ function in the process, including your body’s ability to produce sweat and cool itself. As a result, when your body cannot cool itself, your body’s internal temperature begins to rise rapidly, leading to heat stroke.
With that in mind, some symptoms of heat stroke include the following:
- Abdominal or muscle cramps
- Altered mental state, including agitation, confusion, delirium, irritability, slurred speech, or loss of consciousness
- Clammy, flushed, or pale skin
- Dark-colored urine, which is a sign of dehydration
- Excessive sweating, followed by an abrupt stop in sweating, or no sweating at all
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid and shallow breathing
- Throbbing headache
- Weak and racing pulse
What is the difference between heat stroke and sun stroke?
Heat stroke is also referred to as sun stroke. As such, there is no qualitative difference between heat stroke and sun stroke since both terms refer to the same condition. For an appointment with us at AFC Urgent Care in Pinellas Park, FL, or more information about heat stroke treatment, we welcome you to call us, schedule an appointment through our website, or visit our clinic at 7101 US Hwy 19 N in Pinellas Park, Florida.