Heat Stroke Treatment Q&A
Know the signs of heat stroke and get treatment! We offer a broad range of medical diagnostic and treatment services at convenient locations in OKC near Del City and Midwest City, West Moore, South Oklahoma City, Edmond, Yukon, Tecumseh (near Shawnee) and Norman, OK. For more information, call us.
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Heat stroke occurs when the body’s cooling mechanisms are overcome by heat, resulting in a high core temperature. For adults, it is usually over 104 F or 40 C, and for children, it is usually over 105 F or 40.5 C; heat stroke is a medical emergency. Hot weather and strenuous activity are the main causes of heat stroke. Heat overwhelms the body’s ability to regulate its core temperatures such as sweating or evaporative cooling. Due to their inability to control their core temperature, infants, children, pregnant women, and the elderly are at higher risk for heat stroke.
Many people will recover quickly and without problems with quick and effective treatment, although some may become more sensitive to hot weather. It takes about 1-2 days for the patient to recover in the hospital; if there is organ damage, it may take longer. Depending on the severity of the heat stroke and the internal organ damage, recovery may take two months to a year. As complications increase, the prognosis rapidly declines. It is possible for the brain and other organs (lungs, liver, kidneys) to be permanently damaged, resulting in long-term health problems. These patients may have a fair to poor prognosis due to swelling caused by heating and other mechanisms.
Heat exhaustion can sometimes be managed without medical care by various cooling methods if it is mild enough. However, if heat exhaustion becomes heat stroke it is a serious condition requiring immediate attention. There are several ways a healthcare provider may treat heat exhaustion when patients seek care for it.
A bath of cold or ice water can be an effective method for lowering body temperature. Prompt cold water immersion can reduce the risk of organ damage and death. Health care workers may use evaporation cooling techniques which involve misting the body with cool water while warm air is fanned over the area to cause it to evaporate and cool the skin. Cooling fluids may be administered through an IV to restore hydration.
There are many potential signs of heat stroke. Rectal thermometer readings of 104 F (40 C) or higher are the main sign of heatstroke. A change in mental state or behavior. Heatstroke can result in slurred speech, confusion, delirium, agitation irritability, seizures, and coma. Sweating changes. The skin will feel hot and dry when you suffer from heatstroke in hot weather. The skin may feel slightly moist or dry in cases of heat stroke caused by strenuous exercise.
Vomiting and nausea may occur. Increasing your body temperature may cause your skin to turn red. Rapid and shallow breathing may occur. Heat stress puts a great deal of strain on your heart, forcing it to work harder to cool your body. This may result in a significant increase in your pulse rate. You may feel a throbbing in your head.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency and the first step in treatment is to cool the patient down to prevent any further complications from occurring. Cooled intravenous fluids will be administered through a vein in their arm. The patient may be provided a cooling blanket or an ice bath. Supplemental oxygen may be provided. Medication may be administered to prevent seizures.
When the body reaches about 102 degrees Fahrenheit, cooling treatments are stopped. Depending on the severity of your heatstroke and the state of your organs, you may require further treatment. Urgent care is available at Immediate Care of Oklahoma for those suffering heat stroke or other heat exhaustion-related conditions. We serve patients from West Moore OK, Norman (HealthPlex) OK, Edmond OK, Yukon OK, I-240 & Sooner RD OK, Tecumseh OK, Norman (24th) OK, and Bethany OK.
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