Heatstroke: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

As the days become warmer, we need to gear up for the hot Australian summer. According to the Australia Medical Association, over 500 people die as a result of Heat Stroke each year. Heat Stroke is particularly deadly because symptoms can sometimes be overlooked or not be very apparent. Knowing what to look for and when to see your doctor can help you be vigilant this summer and protect yourself and your loved ones from this life-threatening condition.

What is Heatstroke?

Heat Stroke, or Sun Stroke, can occur when you’re exposed to heat for prolong periods of time, which in turn rises your body’s core temperature to over 40.5 Celsius. You’re at higher risk of experiencing Heat Stroke if you fall under one of the following categories:

  • The elderly (50 years and over)
  • Infant and children
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • Those with chronic illnesses

Symptoms of Heatstroke

Heat Stroke can easily be confused with feeling weak, having low blood pressure or even food poisoning. If you experience one or more of the below listed symptoms, please see your doctor to get a definite diagnosis instead of jumping to conclusions. It’s always better to be safe than sorry in matters of health and wellness.

Symptoms of Sun Stroke include:

  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Light-headedness
  • Throbbing headache
  • Rapid pulse
  • Seizures
  • Extreme thirst
  • Dry or swollen tongue
  • Nausea and vomiting

Treatment for Heatstroke

Since Heatstroke is a result of the body overheating, treatment focuses on cooling the body and bringing it down to a normal temperature quickly to prevent damage to the brain or other vital organs. Treatment options include:

Ice Bath: Cold water immersion is where you will be lowered into a bath or ice or cold water to rapidly cool down your body.

Evaporation cooling method: If an ice bath is not a viable option, evaporation cooling method may be used where cool water will be misted on your body just as warm air is simultaneously directed on your body. This will result in the cool water evaporating from your skin and cooling your body in the process.

While the above are the two most used and effective treatments, other helpful techniques include sipping cool water, applying ice packs to your most affected areas: groin, armpit, neck and back.

Contact Us

If you suspect you or your loved one is suffering a heatstroke, call the emergency hotline and follow the above tips while you wait for help to arrive.

Got a health concern? We’re listening! Book an appointment to see one of our experienced doctors to get the best treatment for your issue.
CALL 02 6412 2033

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