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Sunstroke (heat stroke) Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Heat stroke is caused by too much or too much exposure to hot weather. Sunstroke is heat stroke caused by too much sun exposure .

In case of heat stroke, which particularly affects children and the elderly, body temperature rises above 40 ° C. This is called hyperthermia . The body is no longer able to properly regulate its internal temperature and maintain it at 37 ° C as it normally does. Cramps, redness in the face or a strong desire to drink may appear. The body does not sweat, headaches appear, the skin becomes hot and dry. The person can then suffer from nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, dizziness or even fainting. Above 40.5 °, the risk is fatal.

Heat stroke can happen in an overheated place, such as in a car in the sun, under the roof in summer or during intense physical activity.

Heat stroke should not be taken lightly since it can be serious . Untreated, it can cause neurological disorders, kidney or heart damage, comas and even death.

Everything must be done to bring down the temperature of the body as quickly as possible. The person suffering from sunstroke should immediately be put in the shade, refreshed and rehydrated. Heat stroke must be considered an emergency. In infants, for example, in case of crying or dryness of the tongue and skin, it is imperative to call the 15 as soon as possible. Dry skin is easily detected. By pinching it lightly, we notice that it lacks elasticity and stays longer wrinkled.

Types of Sunstroke

Heat stroke can happen after prolonged exposure to the sun (sunstroke) or hot weather. It can also follow intense physical activity. This is sometimes called exercise heat stroke. The latter may be due to hyperthermia associated with dehydration. Thus, the athlete does not compensate enough for loss of water due to perspiration during physical exertion. In addition, during this effort, the body produces a lot of heat because of muscular work.

Causes of Sunstroke

The main causes of sunstroke are prolonged exposure to the sun, especially in the head and neck. Heat stroke is linked to hot weather. Finally, alcohol is a risk factor because it can prevent the body from regulating the temperature properly.

Diagnostic of Sunstroke

Doctors easily recognize sunstroke through clinical signs. They can sometimes ask for additional exams. Thus, a blood test and a urine test, the latter to verify the proper functioning of the kidney, may be prescribed. Finally, x-rays can be useful to know if some organs have been damaged.

Symptoms of Sunstroke (Heat Stroke)

The possible symptoms of sunstroke are:

  • High body temperature;
  • Hot and dry skin (the body does not sweat normally, hence the dryness of the skin);
  • Dehydration;
  • Headache ;
  • Tired ;
  • Nausea, vomiting;
  • Redness;
  • Stiffness at the nape of the neck;
  • Feeling of warmth in the face;
  • Breathing fast, jerky;
  • High heart rate;
  • Difficulty speaking, confusion;
  • Oppression;
  • Drowsiness;
  • Dizziness;
  • Ringing in the ears;
  • Cramps;
  • Fainting;
  • Convulsions;
  • Coma.

People at risk for  Sunstroke

Everyone can experience sunstroke but the people most affected are the youngest and the oldest . At the extreme ages of life, the central nervous system manages temperature variations less well than in adulthood. In addition, babies get dehydrated faster and older people are less aware of bodily sensations of thirst and heat. Finally, athletes who do not properly prepare their competitions have a risk of increased heat stroke, especially if they take stimulants and / or if they wear waterproof clothing that does not heat properly.

Risk factors

Some medicines may increase the risk of sunstroke. Thus, vasoconstrictors, by reducing the diameter of blood vessels, or medications taken in case of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are concerned with this effect.

The prevention of sunstroke (Heat stroke)

Can we prevent?
Thanks to simple gestures and adapted behavior vis-à-vis the climatic conditions, it is quite possible to avoid an isolation 
Basic preventive measures
These are mainly common sense measures. In case of extreme heat, the clothes worn must be fine, light and light colors. Black clothes, since this color absorbs heat, should be avoided. It is necessary to drink regularly and sufficiently and so allow the body to stay at a normal temperature. The ideal is to drink regularly before being thirsty.

Prevention also involves wearing a cap or hat and using an umbrella on the beach. It can be helpful to regularly wet your head, face and neck.

Using a fan or an air conditioner to cool a room is also effective in lowering the room temperature.

Finally, it is strongly discouraged, especially for young children, to stay in the sun or in an overheated car parked on a parking lot. And care must be taken to never over-cover children when it is hot.

Regarding exercise heat stroke, it is best not to practice intense physical activity during the hottest hours of the day and to hydrate regularly, always protecting your head with a hat and getting wet regularly upper body and neck.

Medical treatment of insolation (Heat stroke)

The main objective of the treatment is to bring down the temperature . The management of the sunstroke must be very fast. At the first sign, the person should be lying in a cool, airy place in the shade. We must give him water to drink as quickly as possible. A warm shower is useful for lowering body temperature. If there is no shower, it is important to wet the skin thoroughly and regularly to allow the water to evaporate on contact with body heat. It cools the body.

Relief should be called in severe cases of sunstroke, that is if the person loses consciousness, is absent and does not react normally, convulsions or if his eyes appear hollow and his tongue and lips dry .

Aspirin and paracetamol are not recommended during heat stroke or sunstroke. They have no effect on the fever related to sunstroke. Paracetamol can attack the liver already attacked by heat stroke and aspirin can cause disorders of the blood circulation (hemostasis).

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