Heat stroke is a serious medical emergency in which the body's cooling systems stop working and the core temperature can rise to dangerous levels. Symptoms of heat stroke include hot, dry skin, lack of sweating, a very fast pulse, confusion and perhaps seizures or coma. If untreated, heat stroke can be fatal.
Heat Stroke and AthletesAthletes generally suffer a slightly different type of heat stroke called exertional heat stroke. In exertional heat stroke, victims continue to sweat, despite the increased core temperature. For athletes, the diagnosis of heat stroke is made with a core temperature above 105 F and mental status changes, such as confusion, disorientation and clumsiness. You may collapse and go into a coma if symptoms are ignored. If any of these symptoms of heat stroke are present, emergency treatment and cooling the patient immediately is essential.
Heat Stroke Signs and SymptomsYou may also want to use the Heat Stroke Symptom Checker to learn more about the various heat stroke symptoms and treatment steps. Heat Stroke Treatment Guidelines. If exercising in hot conditions and you feel a headache coming on, or you feel weak, dizzy or nauseated, stop exercising and seek a cool, shaded place. Drink cool water. Take a cool shower or bath, jump in a lake or river of find a garden hose and cool off. proper hydration and avoiding exercise during the hottest part of the day. Hydrate well before and during exercise and replace lost electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and magnesium with food or a sports drink (drink 16 to 20 oz/hour).
Wear light, loose clothing. Or wear clothes made with wicking fabrics such as CoolMax®, Drymax®, Smartwool or polypropylene. These fibers have tiny channels that wick the moisture from your skin to the outer layer of the clothing where it can evaporate more easily. Use sunscreen to prevent sunburn, which can limit the skin's ability to cool itself.
If you notice any of the symptoms of heat illness, stop activity and seek a cool shaded place. Remember, it is easier to prevent heat illness than to treat it once symptoms develop.
Barrow MW, Clark KA. Heat-related illnesses. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. American Family Physician. Sept 1, 1998.