Recognizing and Treating a Heatstroke

Guy wiping sweat off his forehead during a sunny and hot day
Being able to quickly identify if you’re having a heat stroke can be the difference between life and death.

Summer is soon approaching, which means warmer weather and a lot of sun. Time spent in the warm weather can be fun, but it also has the potential to be dangerous. According to the MSU Health e-Guide, a heatstroke occurs when the body fails to normalize its own temperature and the body’s temperature rises, often to 104°F (40°C) or higher.

Remaining healthy and safe requires the ability to recognize a heatstroke before it’s too late and treat it while waiting for help to arrive. Listed below are the symptoms associated with a heatstroke from the MSU Health e-Guide.

Signs of rapidly progressing heatstroke include:

  • Unconsciousness for longer than a few seconds.
  • Convulsion (seizure).
  • Signs of moderate to severe difficulty breathing.
  • A rectal temperature over 104°F (40°C) after exposure to a hot environment.
  • Confusion, severe restlessness or anxiety.
  • Fast heart rate.
  • Sweating that may be heavy or may have stopped.
  • Skin that may be red, hot and dry, even in the armpits.
  • Severe vomiting and diarrhea.

Recognizing the signs of a heat stroke will allow you to seek medical help sooner and reduce the possible deadly effects of this warm weather hazard.

Look for the emergency steps for treating a heatstroke on the MSU Health e-Guide website by searching for heatstroke in the search box on the homepage.

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