Heatstroke Treatment and Preventive Measures
Heatstroke is a type of hypothermia where the body temperature increases drastically accompanied by dehydration. This happens when your body is unable to dissipate heat in hot weather condition adequately. It is also known as sunstroke. Severe heatstroke is defined when your body is at a temperature of 40°C or above.
Symptoms of Heatstroke
If you notice you are or anyone is having heat stroke symptoms call our 24-hour emergency room at Austin Express ER for medical intervention. Heatstroke has been known to cause damage to the brain and internal organs.
The following are some symptoms experienced by victims who experience heatstroke:
- Flushed skin – Your skin tends to redden as the temperature increases
- Heart rate – With increased body temperature your heart will try to cool down your body
- Changes in Mental and behavioral conditions – Heatstroke will make you feel confused, agitated, experience seizures, slurred speech and to an extent you may fall into a coma.
- Dry skin – This could be a result of dehydration and lack of sweat in your body.
- High body temperature
- Nausea and vomiting
Causes of Heatstroke
Some of the causes of heatstroke are:
- Vigorous activities. Intense physical activity under the hot sun is going to increase your body temperature. You should reduce the number of activities you are doing outdoors during the summer.
- Exposure to high temperatures. A heatstroke caused by hot weather is known as non- exertional heatstroke and is likely to occur to older people or if you have a chronic illness.
- Excess clothing. Covering your body excessively will prevent the sweat from your skin from evaporating, limiting your body’s ability to cool off.
- Dehydration. You need a lot of water to regulate your body temperature if you are going to expose yourself to the hot sun.
- Medications. Certain medications will challenge your body’s ability to regulate temperature and hydrate. If you are on medication that constricts your blood vessels, avoid staying under the hot sun for too long or contact your doctor for advice.
Treatment Measures of Heatstroke
After the basic first aid treatment, a diagnosis has to be done to rule out other medical conditions that might have the same symptoms as heatstroke. The tests that are likely to be done in our emergency room in Austin include the listed below:
- Urine test
A urine test is done to check if your urine is dark. Dark urine shows the presence of a heat-related condition. The test is also used to confirm if your kidney function has been affected.
- Rectal Temperature
A rectal temperature thermometer is the most accurate method to get your body temperature. The bulb of the thermometer will first be washed then rubbed with a lubricant before inserting it into your rectum to get the results.
- Blood test
It is done to check sodium, gas or potassium levels in your blood. The condition of your central nervous system will also be checked using the blood test.
- Muscle function test and x rays
The muscle tests are done to detect if there is any damage done to your muscles. X-rays can also be done to check on your internal organs.
Other Forms of Therapy Used
To help you regain your normal body temperature, our specialists at Express ER Austin may perform one of the following treatment measures on you:
- Dip you in cold water. Cold water is a quick way of dropping your temperature, helping you save your internal organs from damage.
- Evaporation cooling procedures. If the cold water is not available, then your body will be misted with cool water while warm air is fanned over you, making the water evaporate, thus cooling your body.
- Medication. You will be prescribed medication that will help you lower your temperature. Muscle relaxers may also be prescribed if you are shivering.
- You may also be wrapped with cooling blankets. Ice packs are then placed on your groins, armpits, neck and back.
How to Prevent Heatstroke
Heatstroke is preventable. Some of the preventive techniques that can be used include the following:
- To avoid sunburns which affect the body’s capacity to cool down, sit under the shade, and use sunglasses or hats to block off the sunlight. Apply generous amounts of sunscreen (SPF 15) on the exposed parts of your body.
- Keep drinking liquids to help your body sweat regulating your body temperature.
- Make sure you wear loose and light clothes as you go outdoors. Tight garments will prevent your body sweat from evaporating properly.
- If you are taking any medications, or have any health conditions that increase your risk of getting heatstroke, avoid hot weather.
- Lastly, if you notice any symptoms developing visit an emergency room near you immediately