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All You Need To Know About Heat Stroke

All you need to know about heat stroke

When our body overheats due to extended exposure or physical exertion in heat or high temperature it causes heatstroke. This condition is very common in summer months. This very serious condition can occur if our body temperature rises to 104°F (40°C) or above. If a heat stroke is left untreated it can cause serious damage to the brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles and requires emergency treatment.


Heatstroke can occur due to various reasons. Few causes of heatstroke include:

Exposure to heatwave or hot environment: A non exertional heat stroke which is also called the classic heatstroke. In non exertional heatstroke being in high temperature leads to a rise in core body temperature. This usually occurs after exposure to hot, humid weather, especially for a longer period of time. It mostly occurs in people with chronic illness or older adults.

Excess exertion and strenuous activity: When our body exerts a lot and goes through intense physical activity in hot weather our core body temperature rises, which causes exertional heatstroke. People who exercise or work out in high temperatures can get an exertional heatstroke, but there are more chances of it occurring to people who are not used to high temperatures.

Either type of heat stroke can occur due to these reasons:

Wearing excessive clothes: When sweat evaporates, it helps in cooling our body. Wearing excess clothes prevents sweat from evaporating, due to which our body is not able to cool down, leading to heatstroke.

Drinking alcohol: Alcohol affects our body’s ability to regulate your temperature, which leads to dehydration. Due to lack of water our body is not able to regulate temperature causing heatstroke. 

Dehydration: Water helps in regulating our body’s temperature. Not drinking enough water causes dehydration as the fluids in the body are lost through sweating causing heatstroke.


Signs and symptoms of heatstroke include:

Increased body temperature: The main sign of heatstroke is having a body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher, obtained with a thermometer.

Altered mental state or behavior: Sometimes heat stroke leads to confusion, agitation, slurred speech, irritability, seizures and coma.

Sweating: The skin will feel hot and dry to touch, if heat stroke is caused by hot weather and dry or slightly moist if caused by heavy exercise.

Nausea and vomiting: Due to rise in body temperature, one of the signs of heatstroke is feeling sick to your stomach or vomiting.

Flushed skin: You may feel drained and your skin may turn red  and look flushed as your body temperature increases.

Rapid breathing: Heatstroke may cause breathing to become rapid and shallow, especially if it is caused due to excessive exercise.

Headache: As heat directly affects the head your head may throb during or after a heatstroke, especially if heat stroke is caused due to exposure to sun.


Heatstroke can be prevented very easily. Steps to prevent heat stroke during hot weather include:

Wear loose fitting or lightweight clothing: When you wear excess clothing or tight fitting clothes the sweat from the body is not able to evaporate which leads to the body not being able to cool properly.

Sun protection: Being in the sun for a long time affects your body’s ability to cool itself, so it is better to use sunscreen before going out in the sun and use an umbrella or hat as well.

Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids and staying hydrated help your body in regulating sweat, which further helps in regulating and maintaining a normal body temperature preventing heat.

Prevent going outside: Try to prevent going out during the hottest hour. If you can’t avoid going out in hot weather, drink fluids and stay hydrated. If you need to go out try going during the cooler part of the day.

Due to constant rise in temperature the issue of heatstroke prevails. There are few things to keep in mind to manage heat and protect yourselves from heat stroke.