Heat Stroke 101: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Sep 01, 2019

Hot weather can be uncomfortable as well as dangerous. Individuals may be running errands, exercising, or enjoying a day outside when the body begins to overheat after so much fun in the sun. At Express ER, patients can receive comprehensive care from professionals in the emergency room with training an experience dealing with heatstroke.

What’s Heat Stroke?

Heatstroke occurs when the body has spent several days exposed to high temperatures. It has to work much harder to stay cool, which can be made even harder when individuals are not properly hydrated. Heatstroke can either be sudden, with patients experiencing symptoms after working out or entering sweltering temperatures that the body isn’t used to, or it can be the result of prolonged exposure to heat.

Patients will often experience heat exhaustion before heat stroke developed. Learning the signs of heat exhaustion can help patients avoid heatstroke and the symptoms associated with it. Taking immediate action is a necessity to avoid complications.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Knowing the symptoms of a heat stroke can allow patients to take action as soon as possible and stop symptoms from worsening without treatment. There are several symptoms associated with heatstroke that patients should be aware of. If you notice any of these symptoms in you or a loved one, seek emergency help from a local ER near you and get treatment from professionals.

  • Body temperatures that reach about 104 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Change in behavior
  • Seizures
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shallow or rapid breathing
  • An abnormally fast heart rate
  • Headaches
  • Cramps in the muscles
  • Skin that seems flushed or dry and feels hot to the touch

What to Do During a Heat Stroke

During a heatstroke, you should follow some precautions to stay safe until you are treated by medical professionals. You should try to find a shady area to sit under while waiting for emergency help to arrive. Do not sit in direct sunlight – if possible, go inside a cooler building.

Any heavy or excess clothing should be removed, such as shoes, jackets, or hats. Splash cold water on the body and use damp towels or ice packs to cool the body down. In some cases, such as with children or elders, ice is not recommended as it could cause a dramatic change in temperature.

Treating Heat Stroke

Without treatment, heatstroke could worsen and cause damage to occur to vital organs in the body, such as the kidneys, the brain, and muscles. These complications can result in long term health problems and possibly even death. It is important to contact an emergency care professional and seek care from professionals in an emergency room near you.

When arriving at an ER near you, you will receive an assessment from medical professionals to determine the severity of your condition. Fluids will be given via an IV if you are severely dehydrated. In some cases, patients will be given a rehydrating drink to replenish any lost fluids and left to rest. Patients will be monitored to make sure their condition is stable before being released.

After experiencing a heat stroke, individuals are much more sensitive to heat and should take extra precautions when exercising or going outside on hot days. High temperatures can be dangerous and lead to the recurrence of heatstroke, which can disrupt your normal routine and activities. To stay as safe as possible, patients should pay attention to several things, including:

Urine Color

The color of your urine can be used to indicate the fluid levels in the body. When urine is dark, this indicates a lack of hydration, and patients should drink more water. Urine should be a light yellow color or clear.


Patients can find it helpful to note their weight before and after exercising or doing tasks of any kind. With some simple math, it’s possible to determine the amount of fluids you’ve lost and replenish them accordingly.

With this information, patients can stay safe in hot weather and avoid potential problems caused by heatstroke. For more information about heatstroke, speak with a medical professional near you about ways to combat heat stroke, and protect the body after treatment.